A DISABLED 92-year-old woman who had her home ransacked by burglars has described feeling “sick” after discovering sentimental jewellery had been stolen.
Alice Hughes, who has lived in the Blackwell area of Darlington for 49 years, found her living room and several upstairs rooms trashed following a break-in in broad daylight.
Dozens of pieces of jewellery, including her mother’s wedding ring, were taken in the raid on her home at around 2.30pm on Sunday, January 8.
Mrs Hughes, who relies on a walking stick to get around, had left her home for a matter of hours in a rare trip out to spend time with her son who was visiting from France.
The pair returned around an hour after the burglary to discover bedroom drawers and cupboards open, jewellery boxes emptied and a shattered glass door.
Mrs Hughes said: “It’s a lot of sentimental stuff that I’ve had for years. I don’t know everything that’s gone, but there’s a long list.
“They’ve used my pillowcase to take the jewellery. Every drawer in my bedroom was opened and I found one earring from a pair on the other side of the room from where I’d left them.
“It was strewn everywhere.”
Mrs Hughes added: “I felt sick really to be honest. It’s not a nice thing, it’s an invasion.
“I don’t know how much feeling these people have. Would they like it if this happened to their mother or grandmother?”
Darlington Police have launched an investigation into the burglary and have released a description of a man seen leaving the Blackwell property on Sunday afternoon.
Detective Constable Neil Stannard, of Darlington Police CID, said: “Witnesses have described seeing a white male in his teens or early twenties with very fair hair, bordering on being a redhead.
“He was dressed quite smartly wearing a dark blue cardigan-type top with a white shirt collar underneath.
“He was wearing grey or dark blue trousers that were possibly chinos – they weren’t jeans or tracksuit bottoms.”
DC Stannard added: “I’d remind everyone to not give burglars any excuse and invest in some light timers to go on and off while you’re out, especially during the winter months.
“We’d recommend leaving a television or radio on if you know you’re going to be out for a few hours to make your house look lived in.”
Pawn shops and second-hand jewellers in Darlington have also been contacted over the incident in a bid to trace missing rings, earrings and necklaces, including a numerically marked 24-carat gold pendant from South America.
Mrs Hughes said: “I’ve lived here for 49 years and I think this is the first time something like this has happened.”
Anyone with information on the incident or anyone involved in the crime can contact DC Stannard or Darlington CID via non-emergency number 101, quoting incident reference number CRI00030388.