Break-in as body lay in flat

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POLICE have launched an investigation into a break-in – allegedly carried out while the householder lay dead inside.

The body of the 61-year-old woman – today named locally as Jane Melody – went undiscovered for up to a week at her ground floor flat in Commonside, Ansdell.

A 38-year-old man is being quizzed by detectives.

He is being questioned on suspicion of burglary – while the community reacted in shock at the news.

Police were called to the property on Wednesday evening.

It is alleged the flat had been entered and a number of items removed before police arrived.

Detectives are treating the woman’s death as “non-suspicious” and The Gazette understands she died of natural causes.

Emma Cox, 32, a neighbour of the woman, said: “I was shocked when I heard about it and it’s a shame this has happened.

“The lady kept herself to herself and lived on her own. I didn’t see anyone visiting her.”

Mark Harrison, 45, who was carrying out landscaping work on Commonside, said: “It’s shocking and it’s disgusting to think about it (the alleged break-in).

“You get the odd burglary, but it’s a nice little area and you don’t imagine things like this. I’m not easily fazed, but it’s not nice to hear something like that.”

Margaret Schwartz added: “You are always going to feel saddened by the fact somebody dies on their own.

“It’s a sad event in itself that she has not been found for so long.”

On the alleged break-in, she added: “It’s awful and terrible to think something like this could happen.

“It’s very bad news and it’s happening too close to home.”

Gemma Buntain, the manager of Heather Lea Florists, on Woodlands Road, said the community had been rocked by the allegations.

She said: “I think the only word for this is disgusting.”

Matthew Creme, 24, said: “It’s pretty disturbing news.”

The arrested man, who is local, remains in police custody while police are carrying out their investigations.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “At just after 6pm on Wednesday, police were called to a report of a death at a ground floor flat on Commonside in St Annes.

“On arrival, police found the body of a 61-year-old woman.

“But the death is not being treated as suspicious.

“However, a 38-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

“He is currently in custody helping police with their inquiries.”