CALLOUS thieves who stole hundreds of pounds worth of jewellery from an 88-year-old woman may find the joke is on them - as the loot is said to carry an ancient Irish curse.
Two jewellery boxes containing items including two men's watches and a gold bracelet were stolen while Veronica Johnston was at her home in Alleytroyds, Church.
She said: "I had been asleep in my chair and when I woke up I saw two girls disappearing into the bedroom. They were both wearing coats but I didn't get a good look at them as I only saw their backs.
"I thought they must be Social Services people as they often come round. Later on, I woke up and went into the bedroom. When I went into the drawers I found that the two jewellery boxes had gone. I was really shocked."
Mrs Johnston later found one of the two boxes dumped in her back garden without the jewellery.
She said: "I don't own very much jewellery but the missing box was really nice and I would like it back.
"It is made of light-coloured wood with some carvings on the top. It was given to me by my mother who was Irish.
"When she gave it to me, she told me to take great care of it as it carries a powerful family curse. So, whoever stole it should beware as there may be some sort of punishment for them.
"A lot of people do not believe in this but if someone wants to take that chance, then on their own head be it."
Mrs Johnston said she rarely leaves her house, which she has lived in for around 20 years since the death of her husband George, as she has difficulty walking far. She has a son Ian and grandchildren Paul and Andrew.
She added: "I wouldn't like to think of anyone coming to harm because of the curse. And I wouldn't like the idea of people wearing something they have stolen. I hope their consciences prick them."