AN elderly couple received the anniversary gift from hell last weekend as their house was vandalised by thugs whilst they slept in a case of mistaken identity - forcing them to barricade their back door to feel safe in their own home.
Tommy and Yvonne Mallin, 75 and 73 respectively, were at the end of celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary on Saturday when their home on Wike Road was attacked by vandals.
Two windows were smashed as well as their front door - but the lasting mental effects of the incident will live long in their memory.
Tommy told the Chronicle: “For whatever reason there was a car with a trailer parked outside our house over the weekend.
“At 11.50pm on Saturday night we heard car alarms going off.
“There was three or four people going at the car with baseball bats and iron bars.
“The next thing I knew I heard one of the windows go through and then another.
“Then the front door window was put through - I thought they were trying to get into the house.
“By then all the neighbours’ lights were turning on and the car alarms were going off - I opened the window and they ran away.”
Tommy then went downstairs to assess the damage, and found his living room covered in glass and paint - though he was unsure as to how the latter had managed to get into his house.
“I couldn’t understand it,” he added.
“I phoned the police and then saw the paint on the car and the house.
“These characters have got a problem with the person who owns the car, and assumed that they lived here.
“It was our 53rd wedding anniversary on Saturday - what a gift.”
Tommy says he and his wife live ‘mundane lives’ and it was never something they expected to wake up to.
“We’re quiet and easy going,” he added.
“We were both in bed at the time and to be confronted with people who had iron bars and baseball bats attacking your property wasn’t something we’d ever expected.
“We just don’t want a repeat episode.
“I’m the one that’s been left with the mess.”
The couple have even barricaded their back door with the fridge to ensure no-one can gain entry to the house.
“It’s certainly shaken us up,” Tommy said.
“We’re just two elderly people who get on with what we need to do.
“As daft as it sounds we’ve been taking extra precautions and barricaded the back door so people can’t get in.
“I’m frightened it might happened again and I’m struggling to sleep.
“It’s just horrendous.”
The couple have been contacted by kind residents and businesses who have offered their support to help clean up - but he says it’s no use as the damage is too bad.
“The police officers who came helped sweep away the glass,” he said.
“Our furniture has marks from the flying glass - we’ve had to throw away an arm chair and a mat because it was covered in paint.
“People have offered to help but with a pair of marigolds it will take forever - it needs industrial cleaning.
“It’s just not something that you’d expect to happen.
“We hope that those responsible see this and will realise they’ve targeted the wrong people and will leave us in peace.”
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police told the Chronicle an investigation into the incident is under way.
They said: “Officers were called just after 11.30pm on September 24, 2022 to a report of criminal damage at an address on Wike Road in Barnsley.
“Paint was thrown at a house and window and a vehicle on the street was damaged.
“Enquiries are on-going.
“Anyone with information or anyone who may have seen anything can contact us by calling 101 or by using live chat or online portal at: www.southyorks.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/.
“Alternatively, you can give information anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers via their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling their UK contact centre on 0800 555 111.