Dog walker, 70, knocked unconscious and robbed in woodland

Picture of West Harling woodland where rape of 71-year-old woman occurred in 1994. Pictures: SONYA B

A dog walker, 70, was attacked and robbed as he walked through West Harling woods - Credit: Archant

A dog walker in his 70s was left unconscious for 10 minutes after a robber hit him in the head.

The man, aged 70, was walking in West Harling woods on Sunday (December 6) afternoon when he was assaulted. 

At around 3.30pm, when he was near to West Harling Road and heading towards Gasthorpe, near Thetford, the victim was hit from behind and knocked unconscious by an unknown attacker.

Having fallen to the floor, he regained consciousness about 10 minutes later to find his wallet - containing cash, cards and his mobile phone - had been stolen.

The man suffered facial and head injuries but did not require hospital treatment.

As police outline their intention to increase patrols in the area, residents in the quiet community of Harling are processing another serious incident in their local woodland. 

In August 2017, dog walker Peter Wrighton was murdered by "animalistic" Alex Palmer at Harling Heath, just a few hundred yards from where Sunday's attack took place. 

The 83-year-old grandfather suffered multiple stab wounds to the head and neck, resulting in 100 officers hunting for his killer.

Most Read

But Philip Edge, chairman of Harling Parish Council, maintains the woods are still seen as a safe place to go walking.

"Apart from the unfortunate murder that took place down there a few years ago, there are a lot of people who use that area of woodland without any problems," said Mr Edge.

"This is certainly not the sort of thing you expect in a rural area. Occasionally you get parked cars being broken into, but not very often at all.

"It was a little while after the murder before people started to go back, but it is perceived as a safe place to go walking. That is what everybody assumes.

"The edge of the woods is only a mile outside the village and there are always parked cars there."

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to the attack and encouraging anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area to come forward. 

Those with relevant information are urged to contact Detective Constable Clare Gardner at Thetford CID on 101, quoting crime reference 36/85896/20.

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter