AN ELDERLY cancer survivor has told how she was unable to eat or sleep since burglars who sneaked into her home stole £50.

Joan Hall, 81, had cash and credit cards taken after unknowingly inviting a burglar into her home.

Police officers are now appealing for help to find the man who tricked Ms Hall, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer three times.

Ms Hall, who worked in Oxford City Council’s housing department before her retirement, said: “I didn’t sleep for two nights after it happened and I have had this pain in my chest.

“I cannot eat anything and I spoke to one of the police officers and she said it is possible I have got an ulcer.

“I was shaking like mad when I was writing a cheque for my daughter.

“It just seems that when I eat food it sticks half-way down my throat and I cannot swallow it. I am going to see the doctor.”

The grandmother-of-two was diagnosed with breast cancer once 30 years ago, a second time 25 years ago and a third time four years ago.

She managed to achieve five years in remission with both her previous bouts of cancer and is just a few months from achieving a similar feat with her third.

At about 10am on Friday, June 6, a man claiming to have been hired by her neighbour for gardening work knocked on Ms Hall’s door. He said the neighbour wasn’t in and he needed to access her garden to look into next door’s.

After she let him into the garden, the man said he needed a pen and paper to leave a note for the neighbour. Ms Hall says it was while she had gone upstairs to fetch them that the money was stolen.

Ms Hall, a mother of two, said she found out her money and cards were gone when she went to the Co-op supermarket later that day and then called her bank to cancel her cards.

Her neighbour has since told her that he hadn’t hired a gardener and no note had been left for him when he returned.

She said: “It didn’t even dawn on me that it could have been him, but he must have had somebody else with him because the only time he was on his own was when I went to get the pen and paper.”

The Oxford Mail has previously highlighted ways to stay safe at home, endorsing the “Lock, Stop, Chain and Check” message.

Det Ch Insp Andy Bird said: “One of the most serious types of offences is where the offender tricks the victim into letting them enter their home and they then take the opportunity to steal from the victim.”

The man is described as white, in his forties, between 5ft 5ins and 5ft 6ins tall, with short dark hair and an English accent.

Anyone with information can call police on 101.

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