A heartbroken couple have spoken of their anger after burglars raided their home and stole around £10,000 worth of jewellery.
Thieves took 51 items, many with irreplaceable sentimental value, from an upstairs bedroom after forcing their way through the front bay window of James and Sandra Foster’s home in broad daylight.
James, a former Hyndburn councillor, and Sandra said lockets of family hair, a high value blue sapphire jewellery suite, rubies, pearls and a gold brooch George IV sovereign were among the items taken on Tuesday afternoon.
Sandra, an antiques, jewellery and book collector, said she was disgusted that the burglars also took her late mother’s wedding ring. The 70-year-old, of Whalley Road, Accrington, said: “To take my dead mother’s wedding ring and my late great-grandparents’ and grandparents jewellery is very nasty.
“They have taken pretty much everything. They must have got in and just swept it all into a plastic bag. One of the items was a gold pocket watch inscribed ‘Altham School, George Thomas Rushton 50 years service’. It was my great-grandfather’s and he was the school caretaker.”
She added: “We have lived here for 40 years and this is the first time we have been broken into. It is shocking.”
Police said burglars raided the house between midday and 3.30pm on Tuesday, January 15 while the Fosters were out.
Raiders got in after breaking a tiny pane of glass in the front bay window and forcing it open.
Police said they took all the jewellery in the main bedroom before leaving. James, a former surveyor and Milnshaw ward councillor, said he is shocked the thieves managed to pull the burglary off in the middle of the day on a busy main road.
The 74-year-old said he and his sons Edward, a well known local artist in Great Harwood and Richard, who lives in Holland, would also often buy Sandra antiques or jewellery on special occasions. He added:
“Our habits are not regular. It must have been an opportunist theft. We are retired and are in the house quite a lot of the time.”
Sergeant Tim McDermott, of Lancashire police, said: “Any burglary is incredibly distressing but when the items are of a sentimental value it makes it even more so.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 101.