A BRITISH couple whose house was demolished last week after they lost a battle with the council to legalise it have described their shock at discovering that neighbours plundered the property as it was reduced to rubble.

Last week the Olive Press reported how David and Janet Hartshorn saw their retirement dream in Torrox smashed to smithereens.

But that very same day, neighbours of the couple used the misfortune as an opportunity to scour through the wreckage and rob the couple of anything that had survived.

“Talk about kicking a man while he’s down,” David told the Olive Press

The looting was discovered by Tom, a friend of the Harthsorns, who popped over to look at the site on the day of the demolition.

Hartshorn Good 2
Lardon! Theives steal the Hartshorns stuff following the demolition of their retirement home.
Photo: David Hartshorn.

He was astonished to see neighbours filling the boot of their cars with whatever they could get their hands on.

Among the items stolen were four ladders, a cement mixer, boxes of crockery, two tables, two chairs, a pressure washer, eight sun loungers, and even a coffee machine.

Tom managed to take photos of the thieves to send to the Harthsorns who rushed down to the property just in time to see a van loaded with her things being driven away by a neighbour.

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The thieves even stole some garden gates.
Photo: David Hartshorn.

The couple even discovered that all the fruit had been stripped from her orange and lemon trees.

The theft was reported to the Guardia Civil who made a detailed inventory of the missing items and interviewed those who had been caught red-handed in Tom’s photos.

One of the neighbours denied being there until he was shown the image of himself and admitted the theft.

He was told that if all the stolen items were returned then the charges would be dropped.

Sure enough, when David returned to the site on Saturday most of the belongings had been returned.

Returned Items
Once the crimes were reported to police, some of the objects were returned to the premises.
Photo: David Hartshorn.

A note left by one of the thieves said they would replace a Karcher power hose with a new one, presumably as it had already been flogged. 

It rounds a fortnight of hell for the Hartshorns, whose dream move to Spain has become a nightmare.

“I’m being persecuted,” David said.

“We used to think we had a good community here, but now we are not so sure. I think it’s time to get out of this place,” admitted the couple.

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