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Couple lose prized Persian cats in Rome caravan raid

A CHURCH couple have issued a grim warning to holidaymakers travelling abroad this summer.

RUINED - Sam and Joan Taylor.
RUINED - Sam and Joan Taylor.

A CHURCH couple have issued a grim warning to holidaymakers travelling abroad this summer.

Sam and Joan Taylor lost practically everything when their caravan, the only home they owned, was stolen from outside a hotel near Rome.

Their clothes, mementoes, photographs, credit cards and even their two beloved Persian cats disappeared along with their two-and-a-half-ton caravan.

The couple's lives were "turned upside down" because they had lived abroad in the caravan for several years.

Joan, 56, said: "We were staying in a hotel because I was flying home the next day to be with my sick mother in Accrington. We got up and went outside to leave and I just kept saying: 'Where's the caravan, where's it gone?' We were absolutely frantic because the thieves used our credit card and spent 580 Euros at petrol stations but the police couldn't care less."

Joan moved in with her mother in Nutter Road before she was joined by Sam, who had been searching for the cats and seeking help from the authorities.

The couple are now renting a house in Dill Hall Lane, Church, and have had to borrow clothes and furniture because their insurance money hasn't been paid.

Keen to fulfil their dream of living abroad, and eager to treat Joan's arthritis with warm weather, the couple sold their Todmorden bed and breakfast in 1997 after a lifetime of hard work and bought a villa in Portugal.

In 2001, wanting to travel across Europe, they left the villa and made their base a caravan site in the south of France. But now their dream is shattered and the Taylors, who have been married for 20 years, will never go abroad again.

"It has ruined everything," said Joan. "We loved travel and have been all over the world together, but this has knocked us for six and I'm not going away again."

"Losing our cats, Lucy and Pepsi, like that after 13 years was devastating and we're hoping against hope that we get them back. People should really be aware that there are gangs targeting foreign vehicles."

"All sorts of scams go on and we're not the only ones to have been hit by it."

Sam added: "Losing all our things was horrific, but losing the cats has really saddened both our lives. We're sitting here and weighing up our options."

"We don't know what our next step will be because living abroad was a massive part of our lives. We loved it."


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