The West

The wanted man

WA Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis feared for his safety so much he has moved house less than three months after an intruder, who is still at large, broke into his home.

Mr Francis said yesterday he had not wanted to leave his Atwell home but he had to take the threat seriously.

The home invasion was early on October 17 and police have again appealed for information.

It also triggered a review of Mr Francis' security by the WA Police dignitary protection unit.

The minister's parliamentary and Government security passes, wallet, credit cards and car keys were stolen.

"I had enough concerns for my own safety that I had to move," he told 6PR radio. "It's unfortunate, the world we live in.

"In 2008 and 2013, in both election campaigns, I put my home address and phone number, against the advice of smarter people, on every single bit of material I put out.

"It's reasonable for politicians to be able to disclose these kinds of details but there are a lot of people behind bars who don't think much of me. You've got to take the threat seriously."

But Mr Francis said it should not have reached the point where he had to move house.

The intruder, who was captured on security cameras, scaled a rear fence at 1.10am to get into the house. It is believed Mr Francis disturbed him when he woke and he heard the swimming pool gate click, which prompted his alsatian dogs to bark.

Mr Francis set off his personal duress alarm, sparking a major police response involving the helicopter and patrol cars.

With responsibility for WA's prisons, Mr Francis is considered to have a higher security profile than other MPs.

It is believed he moved about two weeks ago, the weekend two maximum-security prisoners escaped for 36 hours after breaking out of a prison van manned by Serco guards at Geraldton.

On Friday, another prisoner escaped from two Serco officers at Joondalup Health Campus and was on the run for 48 hours.

A WA Police spokeswoman said yesterday they did not know whether the home invader targeted Mr Francis because of his work because the offender had not been identified.

Mr Francis is also Emergency Services Minister in charge of the Government's response to the recent bushfires, including the Stoneville-Parkerville blaze which destroyed 56 houses.

Anyone with information about the break-in can contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

The West Australian

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