A COUPLE have spoken of how they no longer feel safe in their own home after being burgled by a cocaine addict.

Beth Carr, 23, and her fiance Cameron Caine were mocked and blackmailed by an accomplice of burglar Connor Gorton, who was only caught after being scratched by the couple’s hero cat, Toothless.

Police linked blood found at the house following the burglary in Healey Wood Road, Burnley, in the early hours of April 19 to 18-year-old Gorton.

Mr Caine’s phone was stolen in the burglary and was used to call Ms Carr at 3.30am. She said she was then exposed to a seven-hour tirade of abusive phone calls and text messages and was even mocked as she vomited outside her home.

Speaking about the incident five months on, an emotional Ms Carr said: “The people who invaded my home didn’t just take my belongings, they also took my sense of freedom. I felt trapped and scared as they harassed me for seven hours by calling me and texting me, threatening me and blackmailing me until the police finally arrived.

"It felt like seven hours of hell as I suffer from depression and anxiety and I felt like my heart was going to explode. I felt dizzy and nauseous and eventually I did throw up. I have never been so scared that I have actually thrown up before.

“When I found Toothless after the burglary she was hidden away underneath some towels. When I managed to get her out with some treats I noticed that she was limping and grew very concerned.

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"I took her to the vets and they said it looked like she had a bruise on her right leg as if she might have been kicked. When we looked at her more, it looks like three of her claws had broken off due to them sinking into something and breaking. For the next couple of days I noticed that Toothless, my baby, was acting very differently. She would hide if someone tied to open the door, she would hiss at anyone that tried to touch her. Seeing her so scared brought me to tears."

She said her fiance, who is head chef at Banny's, has been sleeping on the couch with a baseball and has spent £300 on extra security measures ­— money they were saving for their wedding on July 4, 2020.

Miss Carr, who is training to be a carer, said: "We have had to replace everything that was stolen and, as a result of that, we had to postpone our wedding until July 3, 2022. The mental toll it has on you is so much worse than the actual burglary itself.

“As for me, I felt like I had lost my cat and I had lost my fiance. I felt alone in my bed as my cat would cower in a cupboard and my boyfriend would sleep downstairs. I went into a spiralling depression and had to start seeing a psychiatrist again.

"I had heard about other people being burgled but I didn’t think much of them. I thought ‘oh well, you can replace your stuff’ but it’s not just that. It is the feeling of no longer being safe in your own home.

"It is the fact that everything you have in your life has just been shattered in one fell swoop due to one disgusting person. With a burglary it isn’t just simply taking your belongings, they’ve taken your feeling of safety, they’ve taking your home.

"This was supposed to be my forever house, this was supposed to be the house that I raised my kids in and the house I wanted to grow old in. Now me and my fiance just want to sell it as soon as we can and get a new house. But even then I don’t know if any house will feel like a home again.”

Gorton, of Belgrave Road, Colne, pleaded guilty to two burglaries, aggravated vehicle taking, two thefts and driving without a licence and insurance, and was sent to a young offenders' institution for 36 months.

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Burglar Connor Gorton

Mr Caine, 24, said: “I feel like I’ve lost my trust in people. I don’t feel safe in my own home and like I can never be at ease again. I feel like I constantly need to protect. This has changed my whole perspective on what I consider to be normal. My whole life has been flipped upside down.”