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ROBBERY: Family left devastated by armed thugs who stole wife's wedding jewels

Tuesday 13th February 2018

A FAMILY man whose world was ripped asunder when armed robbers burst into his home has tearfully relived the terrifying ordeal.
Speaking exclusively to Downs Mail, curry house owner Abrus Ali (62) recalled how at least five masked thugs barged into his home in Marden to demand cash and jewellery.

Wielding knives and chisels, the attackers ransacked the house for valuables, eventually escaping with an estimated £8,000 worth of family belongings.

Among the haul was the jewellery Mr Ali’s wife, Muckbala, wore on their wedding day in Bangladesh, 40 years ago.

Before they fled, the robbers sprayed the house with bleach in a bid to destroy DNA evidence they may have left behind.

Clearly devastated and sobbing quietly, Mr Ali said: “I have never knowingly hurt anyone in my life, so why did they do this to us?”
At 8.20pm on January 17, the men banged on the front door of the Ali home, claiming to be Kent Police.

At first Mr Ali – who runs the Taj of Kent restaurant in Church Green, Marden– refused entry but eventually allowed them in, at which point they bundled him towards the living room and one held a chisel to his head. 
Mrs Ali begged the men not to hurt her husband and implored them to “take what you want”. 

His son Sharif was ordered downstairs and made to kneel on the floor.

The couple denied that they had any jewellery of value but told them where they could find £600 in cash in a jacket pocket that was to have been given as a traditional Asian wedding present.

Mr Ali – who arrived in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in 1964 with his parents as a small boy – added: “They started turning the place upside down and they found a briefcase inside a cabinet under the bed where my wife’s wedding jewellery is kept. 
When they found it they shouted into my face: ‘Why didn’t you tell us you had this jewellery?’. 

“My wife whispered to me in Bengali to say that we were looking after it for a friend while they went away, which I did.”

He believes that he counted five men – who all wore masks and baseball caps – but is unsure if there were others because of the commotion during the raid. 
They were described as white with English or Irish accents, police said.

The raiders found other valuables, including an expensive watch, before leaving, but not before they sprayed a bleach solution with finger pump canisters over every surface.

Since the attack, Mrs Ali has had every inch of the house washed and cleaned, including the carpets, but she has not ventured out since, not even to see her beloved grandchildren.

Mr Ali said: “I have lived in this house for 30 years. Our neighbours and the people in Marden have been so nice and kind to us over the years.

“Some of these people I have known so long that I am now serving their grandchildren in the restaurant. We have been overwhelmed by the messages of support we have had.

“But the whole thing has left us absolutely devastated and in terrible shock.

Now the front door has new bolts and lock fitted, such is their terror the robbers might strike again.
If you can help, call Kent Police’s appeals number on 01622 604100, quoting reference YY/002018/18. Alternatively, contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.