A devastated pensioner returned from a day out in Cheltenham to find her bungalow had been set on fire by callous thieves, causing terrible damage to her home.
The victim, who did not wish to be named, told how she arrived home from the Motts coach trip on Tuesday night to find her bungalow in Lionel Close, Wendover, full of smoke.
She said: “I put my car away in the garage and I realised it was a bit smoky, I could smell it.
“I could hear an alarm going off, which turned out to be the carbon monoxide alarm because they had ripped the smoke alarm off the ceiling.”
She raised the alarm with her neighbours next door, a retired couple, who then called the fire brigade.
The thieves used cleaning products around the house before standing on a chair and ripping the smoke alarm off the ceiling.
They then set fires to both beds in the bedrooms, causing significant smoke damage throughout the building.
The victim, who has lived alone at the property for eight years, said: “I think they got angry because there was a safe in the wardrobe and they couldn’t get into it, but there was no money in it.
“They also set fire to the wardrobe and the firemen had to throw all of my clothes onto the lawn in the back garden.
“I just don’t know if any of it is salvageable. Even my alarm clock has melted. I don’t think it has really sunk in yet.
“I just don’t understand why they would do this. It’s all been destroyed, it’s all been gutted.”
Neighbours in the cul-de-sac have rallied round the victim, with one family letting her stay with them until she manages to get temporary accommodation sorted.
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s one thing to burgle someone, but to set fire to their house is just extreme. It’s so awful.”
Police are now appealing for witnesses to the incident, but have reassured the community that incidents like this are rare.
DI Joe Banfield, of Aylesbury Local CID, said: “Incidents like this are extremely rare, but are understandably concerning for the local community.
“Fortunately no one was injured in this incident, but I would like to reassure residents that we take this type of crime very seriously and officers are doing everything they can to find those responsible.
“If anyone has any information that they think could help with our enquiries please contact us via the 101 number.
“There will be extra patrols in the area today whilst officers conduct enquiries and I would again urge anyone who has any concerns to approach these officers or call 101.”
Police say the incident is being linked to an attempted burglary on another property in the same road between 3.30pm on Tuesday and 9.15am yesterday. The offenders failed to gain entry and nothing was taken.
Anyone with information should contact investigating officer Det Con Emma Francis, of Aylesbury Local CID, via the 24-hour enquiry line 101.
If you do not want to speak directly to the police you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.