Mum-of-two Lorna Stubbs, 47, says their home has been broken into so many times that her son insists on sleeping with a baseball bat.
And she says children Harry and Ava ask ‘will we be broken in to?’ when they leave the house - after three break-ins in as many years.
The family say more than £50,000 worth of valuables have been stolen, including two e-bikes, an electric scooter, designer handbags and family heirlooms.
But Lorna - who says they already have CCTV, motion-triggered lights and a burglar alarm – doesn't know what else to do to deter the thieves from targeting their house
She said: “I don’t know what to do about it anymore – we've got to raise awareness about it but the question is how do you keep your property safe.
“We can’t afford to insure it anymore and we already have CCTV, lights, and alarm that they just disconnected.
“Rural villages are just easy pickings, they know there is no police presence and it’s quick to get away - it’s scary for the kids, they think it’s a part of life that you just get broken into.”
The first break-in at the home in Holmesfield, Derbyshire, occurred at the end of November 2019 when Lorna took her son and daughter out of the house for just an hour, so her daughter could attend her piano lesson.
When they returned to the house, they found that their belongings were strewn across the floor of the house – and outdoor furniture had been thrown through the patio doors so the brazen thieves could gain access.
They cleared out over £40,000 worth of valuables from Lorna’s wardrobe and dresser, including designer handbags and shoes, jewellery and family heirlooms.
Following the break-in, Lorna and Paul's son, Harry, 13, insisted on sleeping with a knife at the age of just ten – and when his parents wouldn’t allow it, he asked for Mace spray for Christmas in case the burglars tried to get into the property again.
The second time their property was broken into was during lockdown in March 2021 – although on this occasion they found the thief before he’d managed to get his hands on any of their belongings.
Lorna had gone outside into the garden to bring the washing in and saw the outhouse door was open, and when she went to close it, a burglar came sprinting out of the building – and despite Paul chasing after him, the criminal got away.
Just last Monday (09/05) the family experienced their most recent burglary – and even more terrifyingly, Paul, Ava and Harry were all at home and in bed at the time.
The brazen thieves took step ladders along to the property which they used to climb onto the roof of the garage and remove all of the tiles from one side of the roof, the family say – before cutting through the wooden struts and climbing into the home.
They then used a chainsaw to cut through the bolts securing two e-bikes, worth over £10,000, and then wedged the garage door open and made their way off the property – and they even knew where the CCTV was so they could evade being caught on camera.
Now, Lorna says her family are suffering from the long-term effects of the string of burglaries.
“These people take what you’ve earned and saved up for because it’s your hobby and what you like to do – they think you’ve got money so it’s fine,” said Lorna.
“What’s next? Do we wait until they break into the house again? It’s had a detrimental impact on our family life.
“It’s a long-term impact that these guys have – my daughter suffered with anxiety during lockdown and we would go out together on the e-bikes
“Now the weather is nice we had planned to go out together but we can’t afford to replace them as they're not insured – we couldn’t afford to insure them as our house insurance is through the roof and they said they wouldn’t insure the bikes as they’re so commonly stolen.
“The first time it happened it was the end of November three years ago – we were only out of the house for an hour to take my daughter to a piano lesson.
“When we came back, we saw there were Christmas cards all over the floor and then when I went into the hallway my gym bag from the morning was strewn everywhere.
“My daughter went to put her piano books in the study and saw that furniture had been taken from outside and used to smash the windows.
“I went into the master bedroom and they had cleaned me out, they took jewellery, family heirlooms, designer handbags and shoes, they cleared out my dressing table – it was as though they knew where to go and what to find.
“They took over £40,000 worth of valuables and it was tough afterwards – my son insisted on sleeping with a knife at only ten and for Christmas he asked for Mace spray in case they came back, he refused to be alone in the house and if my husband left, he would have panic attacks.
“The second time it was during lockdown and we were in the house, I had gone outside to bring the washing in and saw the outhouse door open.
“I went to close the door and a burglar ran out and leapt over out stone wall, I screamed and my husband chased after him to try and catch him – he said he got a look at his face and he was literally a kid and looked around 18 years old.
“Then, last week I was in London for work on Monday night and got a call at half seven in the morning to tell me it had happened again.
“They had gone through the conifers on front of our drive and bought step ladder with them which they used to climb up the garage and remove the tiles from one side of our roof.
“They cut through the roof, removed the struts and climbed in – we had two e-bikes bolted to the floor worth ten thousand pounds and you’re not supposed to ever be able to get the bolts off.
“They chainsawed through them at half three in the morning and disarmed the alarm and to get the bikes out they broke our garage door by pushing it up and putting a broom underneath it.
"They also took my sons electric scooter which he bought after raising they money to buy it through selling his belongings at a boot fair.
“We have CCTV and they obviously know where it is – they went down the side of the house so they’re not seen on camera at all and got the bikes out through the conifers again, all while my husband, two kids and a dog were in the house.
“There’s a sense of being watched all the time and we’re people who work hard and buy nice things and then happens and you think ‘what’s it all about’ - there’s literally no police presence anymore and these criminals just think great, easy pickings.
“It’s been reported to the police and I’m in two minds to get in touch with the local Conservative MP but he knows the situation and knows crime is rife and he hasn’t done anything.
“My son's bedroom has a baseball bat by the side of his bed and Mace [spray] in the drawer and sometimes even now in the mornings I’ll go in and find a knife on his table – he refuses to sleep without the dog because he knows he’ll bark and wake him up.
“The police need to sit up and listen – there are working families paying huge rates and getting no protection.”
A spokesperson for Derbyshire police said: "We have received three separate reports of burglary at an address in Holmesfield since 2018.
"The first happened in November that year, the second in March 2021, and the third in May 2022.
"During the 2021 break-in nothing was stolen but there was damage to the property.
"Full investigations were conducted in 2018 and 2021 and after following all reasonable lines of enquiry the investigations were closed.
"An investigation into the most recent burglary, in which two electric mountain bikes were stolen is ongoing.
"Anyone with private CCTV installed or who was travelling in the area with Dashcam installed at around 3am on 10 May, is asked to contact us quoting 22*265643 via our Facebook, Twitter, website or by phone on 101.
"“Derbyshire police launched a dedicated operation to tackle serious acquisitive crime and burglary in the north of the county earlier this year, as a response to an increase in burglaries in that area.
“The operation allowed an investment in investigative and preventative resources to help us tackle this rise.
“This included targeted patrols, involving both uniform and plain clothes officers, in the Holmesfield area.
“SmartWater kits have also been distributed locally to aid in the detection of stolen items and local officers are working with residents to share suitable crime prevention advice.
“This work has seen reports of burglary in the area fall and a number of arrests have been made in connection with incidents in the Bolsover and North East Derbyshire areas.
“Local officers continue to work closely with colleagues in our CID, and Operational Support departments as well as partner agencies, to prevent further burglaries and to bring those responsible to justice.”