in his own home yesterday.
He is a frail man in a wheelchair. He lives alone. Carers come in to get him up in the mornings and put him to bed at night. Twice a week he gets help to have a shower. Once a week someone comes in to do the cleaning. If he needs to go somewhere then an "access" taxi or another friend whose husband is also in a wheelchair will take her in their accessible van.
Philip is not on the pension. He works. He has set up a business from home. He studied accountancy. He has a loyal group of clients who say he does an outstandingly good job. He employs a secretary who is there for a good part of his day.
Yesterday, while she was at the Post Office, three men came in. They proceeded to remove his computers and anything else of value, knocking over a chair and his lunch tray as they did it. They were in and out of his office area and the house in less than ten minutes.
Philip had the presence of mind to press his alarm-call button. He wears it around his neck, under his shirt. The intruders were apparently unaware of this.
With that and some extra information from one of his elderly neighbours the intruders were apprehended last night. Philip will take some time to get over the shock. He says he was "lucky". It could have been much worse. It all seems rather unreal. It is the sort of thing which "happens to other people".
Early last evening two teenagers from the house opposite went over and helped him put the computers back the way he needs them. They had everything back in working order within an hour. They come under the heading of "really nice kids". Their father is coming over tonight to put in a buzzer at the front door. People will no longer be able to let themselves in and out without a key or someone in the house releasing the lock on the door. It will be a nuisance but Philip knows it should probably have been done earlier. He has never thought of it as essential as he does not keep any money on the premises. There is no outward sign that any sort of business is run from there. His computer files are heavily protected and backed up in at least two other locations.
Something which could have done great damage and taken weeks to sort out (and perhaps cost Philip his business) has been sorted out quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
Philip might have been more shaken than he is but he believes he knows the motivation for the intrusion. All he has said is that he has been "monitoring" the accounts of one of his clients. I have no doubt that he will take action on that today.
He told me all this and said he will be back at work again this morning. Knowing this was why he had callled, I asked him if he needed anything. I could drop it in this morning on my way to a meeting.
"Another teapot. The bastards broke the other one. Can't live without proper tea."
Philip loathes tea bags. I will buy him another packet of his favourite tea while I am at it.