A burglary victim who fears she was targeted by an organised gang believes she should have the right to defend her home.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes victims should be given greater protection under law than burglars.

Her Castle Hedingham home was targeted in July this year and the thieves took 28 items, including many rare antiques.

Since the break-in she has drastically increased security.

She said: “It is emotionally very upsetting, I think I had a small break down, my house is now like Fort Knox.

“If someone broke into my house and I could give them a wallop, I would.

“I am so afraid of them having knives and things but I have got a cosh that I wouldn’t hesitate to use.”

Describing the emotional impact of the break-in she said: “I just felt terribly angry and terribly sad because it was all my grandmother’s and from previous generations, how can you replace that, you can’t.

“You know that all the silver is going to be melted down, what is the point, it is so dreadful.

“I felt really villified, it is the most awful feeling that somebody has been right through your house.”