ABOUT 50 police officers from across the county worked flat out to help renovate a crime victim’s home for his seriously ill wife.
Officers have been painting, wallpapering, gardening and building to give Stephen Ford’s house in Outwood Common Road, Billericay a new lease of life.
And they’ve succeeded.
For the past week, the team of officers, led by special constable Dan O’Connell, have been giving up their own time and money to help with the project, codenamed Operation Welcome Home.
The project has attracted support on social media and on Friday, Essex’s chief constable Stephen Kavanagh, even dropped in to meet the team.
Dan first met Mr Ford, 67, when he took a statement from him after an attack in Billericay High Street on June 30.
During the interviewMr Ford told the officer how his wife Maureen, 72, was in Basildon Hospital after a fall and a series of mini strokes.
Dan, said: “Mr Ford opened up about how he was struggling to get help from social services to adapt his home for Maureen.
“He was suffering with leukaemia, but was refusing treatment until his wife was out of hospital.
“I took him home and made him a brew. He had started work on the house, but I could see he needed help.”
Dan went home and put an appeal for help on Facebook.
In just a few days he had a plan and for the past week an army of officers from across the county have given up their time to help redecorate the house and give the garden a face-lift.
In just six days they laid new carpets, new floors, painted, wallpapered, cleaned and plastered.
Many of the materials were donated by local businesses, including B & Q and Next.
The Essex Fire Brigade have given new smoke alarms.
Dan added: “It’s been an amazing effort. The businesses have been brilliant.
“We have inspectors mucking in with PCs. There has been no rank issue. Its the first time I have bossed about an inspector.
“It’s been a really good bonding experience.”
Mr Ford said he has been touched by the commitment of Dan and his team.
He said: “You would not think it is the same building. People say bad things about coppers but this just goes to show how much they really do care about people.”
Mr Kavanagh was given a tour of the house by Dan and thanked officers for their work.
He said: “This just goes to show that behind every crime and every victim of crime, there is a real life story.
“People like Dan show what