A great-grandfather has been left distraught after his life savings and his late wife’s jewellery were stolen during a burglary at his home.
Thomas Miller, 73, was on holiday when thieves raided his house in Nelson Crescent, Lea, Preston.
The offenders broke open a gate, window and internal door to gain entry, before turning his home upside down and making off with a safe containing £7,200.
Inside the safe were also two gold chains, one with his wife’s gold wedding ring on it, and one carrying a tiger tooth set in gold.
Patricia Miller, to whom Mr Miller was married for 52 years, died in January 2011.
The great-grandfather-of-five said: “The money was all I had.
“I can’t even pay my credit card off for the holiday.
“The fact somebody was in the house and the sentimental loss more than anything upsets me.
“If they return the personal stuff I wouldn’t think bad of them.
“The more of her personal stuff that is around me the more it feels like she is still here.
“I hope they catch them before they do this to someone else, because I never knew how much this could hurt.”
He said his wife withdrew all of their savings during the banking crisis and put them in a safe which was bolted inside a cupboard.
The safe also contained personal documents, two gold rings with garnet stones, and a Dunhill table lighter in the shape of a pistol.
Other items taken were a gold ring with a brown gemstone and a silver ring with a white gemstone.
The incident happened at around 10pm on Sunday, September 16, when the former taxi driver was on holiday in Romania.
He said: “Since my wife died I hadn’t really done anything, but at the beginning of this year I decided she didn’t want me to be like that, so I went away in May.
“I made a couple of friends there, so I went back in August.
“The burglars have been in every room. All the cupboards and drawers were opened. They dropped a computer with all our photos on it. It’s broken but I hope I can salvage the hard drive.
“I’ve not been sleeping. I’ve not even unpacked. Luckily they hadn’t touched my wife’s ashes.”
Police believe the burglars would have taken more but were disturbed and fled.
Detective Sergeant Steve Ryder, from Preston CID, said: “The victim has understandably been left distraught by this burglary, especially with the loss of his late wife’s jewellery which holds immense sentimental value.
“I’d appeal to anybody with any information about this offence, or who has been offered any jewellery for sale, to call police on 101.”
Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.