Police sorry for breaking down ‘the wrong door’ in Worthing

SUSSEX POLICE has apologised for accidentally kicking down the door of the wrong home after an emergency call to the force.

John Barnett showing the damage to his partner's home DM155444a.jpg
John Barnett showing the damage to his partner's home DM155444a.jpg

Officers were sent to a home at Cambourne Court, off Shelley Road, Worthing, on Sunday afternoon.

It came after a concerned relative of a woman living in the court had called officers, claiming she had not heard from the homeowner for some time.

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When police arrived at what they thought was the flat in question and received no answer, they kicked down the door – only to realise it was the wrong home.

The flat was, in fact, the home of Lydumilla Houghton, 61, who had been out shopping in Worthing at the time police called round.

He partner, John Barnett, of Brighton Road, Worthing, said he was furious by the police’s actions, which he claimed had ‘made a terrible mess’.

“We have had no sleep during the night at all,” he said. “We’re still in complete shock that they could kick down the wrong door.

“We do appreciate that if someone is ill you have got to go to the home to help them but surely you could have got the right address first.

“I was certainly astounded and I could hardly believe it.

“At first, we thought there had been an attempted burglary.”

When he called the force about the incident, he was initially told very little.

However, subsequent calls, and a chat with neighbours revealed the blunder.

“I was certainly astounded and I could hardly believe it,” he added.

Sussex Police apologised for the incident less than 24 hours later.

In a statement, a spokesman for the force said: “Officers went to the address within 20 minutes and received no reply from what they believed was the flat.

“They also asked neighbours for any information about any elderly woman who might need help, and then forced entry through the door.

“However, it transpired that they had entered the wrong flat. Enquiry at the correct flat then confirmed that the woman concerned was there, alive and safe.”

Inspector Rob Moore added: “Our officers were acting in good faith to help a potentially vulnerable elderly person, although by mistake they were given a flat number that was wrong by one digit.

“We have naturally apologised to the occupants of the flat that was entered, and will be meeting the cost of the repair.”