Home robbed while owner at carol service

Ms Gracey's home was targeted by theives as she attended a carol service.

An east Belfast woman who attended a Christmas carol service has been targeted by thieves who ransacked her home and stole the takings from her church's not-for-profit café.

Monday, 17 December 2012
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Avril Gracey was attending a church carol service at May Street Presbyterian Church on Sunday evening when her east Belfast home was robbed.

During the few hours she was away, thieves broke in and stole her laptop, camera and hundreds of pounds of money - including the takings from the church café she manages.

"The fact that someone broke into my house in such a short space of time just disgusts me," she told UTV.

"It's meant to be the season of goodwill to all men and I have to say I was very angry someone had done this to me," he said.

Ms Gracey says she is particularly upset that Christmas gifts for the volunteers who work at Urban Soul Café in Belfast city centre were also taken.

The café relies heavily on donations and has been struggling financially in the last number of months.

Ms Gracey has lived in her home for 17 years and says it's normally a safe neighourhood but she believes those responsible were watching her movements.

"I think everyone is short of money and the pressure is on. People don't have the money and sometimes we have to make sacrifices and do without rather than do things like that."

Despite her ordeal, she says she is she is determined to feel safe in her own home and enjoy the festive season.