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Thieves fire through door of town councillor after confrontation outside home

The hole left in the door after a ball-bearing was fired through it
The hole left in the door after a ball-bearing was fired through it

A TOWN councillor and his wife narrowly missed being hit by a ball-bearing fired after he confronted thieves stealing a catalytic converter from a neighbour’s car.

Steve Shepherd (69) told the A&T the missile shot through a double-glazed glass pane in the front door of the property in Bagber Road, Totton.

It whizzed past him and hit the stairs, where his wife Teresa (63) had passed by just moments earlier.

The drama unfolded around 1.15am on Tuesday 16th March after Mr Shepherd heard sounds of machinery outside, and saw a vehicle parked up by the Honda Jazz belonging to his nextdoor neighbour, Charlie Penny.

The Honda had been jacked up on one side and one of three men was working underneath, leading Mr Shepherd to suspect the catalytic converter was being unscrewed.

“At that point I went outside and shouted something like, ‘What do you think you’re doing? Stop it!’,” he said.

“They became very threatening to me, saying things like ‘keep out of it’ and ‘get back inside’. I said, ‘I’m going to call the police’, and they said, ‘You’re too late’.

“I went back inside as they were being intimidating, and I had just shut the front door when a steel ball-bearing came straight through the double-glazed glass panel and hit the stairs. My first instinct was that it had been fired from a gun.

The ball-bearing
The ball-bearing

“If I had been standing a foot further over, I could have been hit. My wife had also just come down the stairs because of the noise and if she’d been on the stairs at that time, the ball-bearing could have hit her.”

The trio quickly fled as Mr Shepherd called the police, although he was told no officers would be sent as there was no clear description of them or their vehicle.

Shaken by the attack, the former district councillor was frustrated to later receive an email from the police, saying the case had been closed.

However, after his 999 call was reviewed by a civilian investigator, the case was rebranded as violence against a person instead of just criminal damage.

Mr Shepherd continued: “I felt angry. I’m not somebody that is easily intimidated, but it was scary.

“These three people were serious, they were professional and prepared to use violence in order to finish what they were doing and leave the scene.”

This was not the first time Mr Shepherd had disturbed offenders targeting a neighbour’s car, but the previous occasion involved a group of youths who fled without further incident.

Footage from a neighbour’s home CCTV showed the offenders’ vehicle coming from the Ringwood Road direction and going past the Honda before coming back to it.

Mr Penny and his wife Sally, both 58, did not hear the incident as they were asleep. Mr Shepherd alerted them the following morning that the catalytic converter had been taken.

“It makes you feel irritated, violated, annoyed and helpless,” Mr Penny said.

“The first thing is, you tend to think of the sort of person that would have done that.”

Anyone with information should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44210097323, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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