Second World War veteran, 102, ‘quite proud’ after fighting off burglar

A 102-year-old Second World War veteran has said he is “quite proud” after wrestling with a burglar and forcing him to run away.

John Cox, who has been targeted by burglars twice in four months, suffered cuts and bruises to his left arm after an intruder attempted to force their way into his home in Lincoln on Tuesday.

Lincolnshire Police said a 47-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of carrying out four burglaries and two thefts from shops.

The suspect, from Lincoln, was held on Wednesday and released on bail following the incidents in the Ermine area.

102-year-old fights off burglar
102-year-old fights off burglar

Mr Cox, who served as a private with the Royal Army Service Corps in India during the Second World War, said he does not feel he can answer the door to anybody after the burglary attempt.

He said he believes a shout to his wife Joan, 97, forced the burglar to run away.

The centenarian said: “I thought he was delivering something and unfortunately I opened the door.

“As soon as I opened the door, he pushed it a little and said, ‘I want to examine your lighting’. Then he pushed me two yards inside.

“At the same time, I was stopping him saying, ‘Oh no, so you’re not coming in here, mate’.

“We had a sort of wrestle and we were pushing each other in and out. Then I shouted ‘Joan’, and I was going to say get the police and I think maybe he thought I was going to do that.

102-year-old fights off burglar
102-year-old fights off burglar

“He backed off a bit, then I gave him another extra push and he was out the door and ran straight down the road.

“I’m quite proud really. Was he half my age? Or was he even less than that?

“But it didn’t last very long, which was a good thing for me though, I think.”

Police are investigating the incident which happened at around 1.45pm on Tuesday, along with another in the Ermine area about 45 minutes earlier.

In the first incident, cash and bank cards were stolen after a man pushed his way past a disabled woman in her 90s.

Mr Cox, who was a semi-professional footballer for Glastonbury, previously worked as a driver in the Army delivering supplies to troops in India during the war.

102-year-old fights off burglar
102-year-old fights off burglar

Speaking of the injuries he suffered in the burglary, Mr Cox said: “When he’d gone, I was bleeding and they couldn’t stop it.

“At the hospital they kept putting these pads on but they would soon have to take them off again – they couldn’t stop it.

“Nobody knows what caused it.”

Asked how he plans to prevent any future burglars, Mr Cox said: “I plan not to open the door to anybody and put the chain on the door. But then again, you can’t be surprised because all this is happening with elderly people.”

Chief Inspector Phil Baker said: “These two incidents are clearly concerning because they involve elderly and vulnerable victims.

“In both incidents the offender has used force to push past the occupants and, in one case, stolen cash.

“Any information relating to these incidents is important, so I would please ask anyone who can help our investigations to contact us. I’d also appeal for those who have elderly neighbours to regularly look out for them and check that they are OK.”