BURGLARS stole a treasure trove of valuable family heirlooms – while their elderly victim was bed-bound in hospital.
Thousands of pounds worth of items were taken in the raid on Butternab Road in Beaumont Park.
The haul included:
First World War medals, including one given to a Somme survivor
Wedding rings belonging to the owner and her late husband
Two gold Omega watches made in the 1940s
A bracelet made from coins in Tsarist Russia in the early 1900s
Two rare gold lotus flowers in red plush boxes from Singapore
A Victorian porcelain doll given to the owner by her mother, who died when she was four.
The victim, an 87-year-old widow who lives alone, was in hospital at the time having suffered a diabetic relapse.
Her son, who did not want her to be identified, said: “If medieval punishments were still available, I think they would be appropriate for the people who did this.”
The incident happened at some point between 9pm on February 3 and 11am on February 5.
The thieves had to use brute force to smash their way into the house, as the door had been reinforced with metal plates.
The woman’s son, who is 54, had been checking on his mother’s house every day while she had been in hospital but had been unable to attend one night because of a violent storm.
He discovered what had happened when he went to the house the following day.
“They had smashed the back door in,” he said. They had opened all the cupboards and drawers, there was stuff all over the place. It was a huge mess.
“I was shocked and devastated. It’s not nice having your premises entered in the first place, but to find out how much they had taken was heartbreaking.”
The man’s family have a prominent position in Huddersfield’s industrial heritage and have travelled extensively over more than three generations through their work.
Many of the items were collected during their trips abroad.
They include a silver bracelet custom-made from kopek coins in Russia in about 1911 for the man’s great grandfather who travelled there for therapeutic treatment for asthma.
He is now buried in St Petersburg. The two stolen First World War medals belong to the victim’s father, who was one of only 12 known survivors from a Brighouse regiment of more than 500 men who fought in the Battle of the Somme. Wedding rings belonging to the woman and her husband, who died in 2006 aged 85, have also gone.
The man said: “A lot of this stuff has little monetary value, but it means everything to my mum.”
Det Insp Mark Truelove, of Kirklees divisional intelligence unit, said: “This burglary clearly shows the callous nature of offenders who commit house burglaries.
“Criminals who break into the homes of decent law-abiding citizens are despicable individuals who have no thought or consideration for their victims.
“They need bringing to justice and in my view sending to prison.”
He added: “People who have innocently purchased stolen property have nothing to fear.”
Anyone with information should call Huddersfield CID via 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.