THOUGHTLESS thieves seized the opportunity to swipe a collection of irreplaceable war medals from inside a car on Remembrance Sunday.
Terence Rhodes, 60, the owner of the medals, said ‘he will never forgive himself’ after the opportunists took the sentimental items along with the jacket they were pinned to, from his ‘unlocked’ silver Vauxhall Insignia.
“After the Remembrance service in Skegness, I put the jacket on the back seat of my car and ended up going into Skegness, Tesco and a few places.
“I didn’t notice it was missing until I got home.
“It suddenly hits you that it’s missing and you think you must have left it somewhere, but I know I didn’t and as there was no damage to the car, I can only think I pressed the wrong button on my car keys and it didn’t lock. I assumed it had.”
Terence, who lives in Chapel St Leonards, says he feels he must take ‘full responsibility’ sadly in this case because his car, which was parked at Tesco in Richmond Road between 1pm and 5pm, was left ‘unlocked’.
The seven stolen medals belonged to Terence’s late father, William Rhodes, who served between 1939 and 1945 during the Second World War.
“When my father died he gave the medals to my brother Billy who has also now died and then they were passed on to me.
“Before my father got ill, I used to travel up to Manchester, where we are originally from and attend a Remembrance service with my father and brother.
“I have continued to do this since and would wear the crombie jacket with the medals pinned on the right as a mark of respect.”
The medals taken include, a general army service medal which holds a silver Palestine strip through it, a 1939-45 Star, an African Star, an Italy Star, a France and Germany Star, a defence medal and a 1939-45 war medal.
Terence added: “I will try and buy the medals again but it won’t be the same thing. But at least it could bring some kind of comfort knowing that my father once had them.
“The people who took it are thoughtless, they must have known that they were war medals on that day. They must be heartless.
“People know that war medals hold sentimental value and shouldn’t be touched.
“I’m hoping that the people or person who took them will feel a prick on their conscious, I hope they feel guilty as you wouldn’t be able to forget something like this.”
The police have appealed for information. PC Dave Dixon said, “These medals obviously have huge sentimental value and are quite simply irreplaceable.
“Any shops or traders who have been offered similar medals are requested to phone Lincolnshire Police.”