Addiction takes no prisoners, and those affected often suffer greatly as it takes hold of their lives. Long-term heroin users will often experience health issues because of the drug taking. Those who inject heroin have a high risk of vein damage, and many will suffer from skin abscesses. They also have a higher risk of developing illnesses such as HIV, tetanus, or hepatitis. Addicts who smoke the drug may develop acute lung conditions including tuberculosis or pneumonia.
Heroin addiction also has other consequences such as the breakdown of relationships, financial hardship, and loss of employment. Family members of heroin addicts can suffer emotional stress and may become victims of theft from their loved one.
Nevertheless, there are times when a heroin addiction has further-reaching consequences with innocent strangers becoming victims. This is what happened to Frank and Maureen Fox. The elderly couple showed kindness to Martin and Winifred Ward by inviting the pair in for tea and scones. However, the heroin addicts targeted the vulnerable pensioners and stole from them while Mrs Fox was making a pot of tea downstairs.
The Wards, who are from the travelling community, knocked at the Fox’s door and asked if they needed any work to be done around the house. Mr Fox declined, but the pair did not leave and, when Mrs Ward told Mrs Fox that she was suffering from ‘women’s problems’ and asked for a drink, the elderly woman invited the pair inside for tea and scones, which she had just made.
While Mrs Fox was preparing the tea, Ward asked to use a toilet upstairs. While up there, she rummaged around the couple’s bedroom searching for cash and stole mobile phones.
When Mr and Mrs Fox discovered the mobile phones had been taken, they called the police, who were able to identify the thieves from CCTV footage taken outside the Fox’s home.
The Wards were arrested and have now each been sent to prison for seventeen months after a judge branded their crime despicable.
Mr and Mrs Fox are both in their nineties and were targeted by the Wards while extending the hand of friendship. Mrs Fox has admitted to being angry at how they were treated by the Wards but says she is upset that their sentences were so long. She believes they should have been punished but just for a week or two instead of seventeen months. She said, “It’s not in my nature to get people locked up, but I’m very angry for what they did to me.”
Mrs Fox has been affected by the incident and now finds it hard to sleep while Mr Fox said, “We never used to lock the back door until this. It’s a sad reflection on society, but that’s the way it is.”
The Wards both have previous convictions for theft, and they have blamed heroin addiction for their actions. Mr Ward insisted that they had not targeted the elderly couple but had instead seen an opportunity and took it.
Addiction often causes sufferers to engage in opportunistic crimes. Those who are desperate to get their hands on cash to buy the drugs they need will see an opportunity and will take it. This is one of the devastating consequences of addiction. Those who carry out the crimes out of desperation often end up behind bars while the victims must live with the after-effects of such incidents.
Fortunately, there is help available for those suffering with addictions to drugs and alcohol as well as for those suffering from compulsive behaviour disorders. Addiction Helper is a free service working hard to connect addicts and their families with treatment providers. If you need help for your addiction, contact Addiction Helper for advice and information on how to take the next step towards recovery.