Elderly pair devastated as burglar grabs gifts

An elderly couple returned home on Christmas Eve to find the house ransacked by a burglar who stole some of their most treasured possessions – and presents from under the tree.

The victims, an 81-year-old man and his wife, 74, who have been married over 50 years, were devastated by the raid in Scalby Mills, Scarborough, according to police.

The thief struck between 2pm and 3.30pm on Christmas Eve.The couple returned home to find all their rooms ransacked.

"Their most valued and sentimental collectables had been stolen and their wrapped Christmas presents under the tree had been opened," a police spokesman said.

The burglar got in by smashing through the conservatory and made off towards Burniston Road.

The haul included distinctive commemorative coins the man had collected all his life, depicting scenes from historic military and air force events.

The coins were accompanied by illustrated coin covers. Another coin was issued in 1951 for the Festival of Britain.

The wife's jewellery collection was also stolen.

Police say not only was her collection worth a significant amount but it was also of irreplaceable, sentimental value having been collected over many decades from different continents as the couple travelled together.

Included were a gold ring with five opals surrounding a centre red garnet, silver necklace with a pottery yellow flower, a real orchid flower plated in 24 carat gold, and a distinctive 'De-Cove Genve' matching jewellery set.

A police spokesman said: "Breaking into peoples houses and stealing their treasured possessions is a disgusting offence at any time of the year but to do it at Christmas just makes it even more sickening.

"The elderly victims have been left extremely distraught and we are determined to hunt down the offender and ensure justice is served."

A man was seen acting suspiciously near Scalby Mills filling station.

He was wearing a dark jacket and hat and carried a white plastic carrier bag with black writing.

Witnesses are urged to contact police on 08456060247.