A heartless thief who stole sentimental jewellery from a 95-year-old woman while she lay asleep in her chair has been branded 'despicable' by police.
Grandmother Hazel Noble had fallen asleep in her living room when the thief entered her home, in Station Road, Seaham, last Wednesday morning (November 21).
Once inside, the thief stole ten gold rings of sentimental value from her jewellery box before leaving through the front door.
The rings were all of sentimental value and included her late husband’s signet ring and her engagement ring. All the rings, apart from the signet ring, are small sizes (either J or K).
Her daughter, Margaret Hayes, said Hazel had been left badly shaken by the incident.
“Mam is pretending to be strong, but this has really shaken her up. She is very independent, but this has really knocked her confidence,” she said.
“She has been through an awful lot during her 95 years, but it is this lowlife that has reduced her to being frightened in her own home.
“Myself and my sister, Carol, visit mam every day and since the burglary she has become a lot more dependent on us.
“The other day she asked me just to sit with her and hold her hand – that really broke my heart.”
The burglary happened between 10.30am and 11.30am on Wednesday, November 21.
Detective Sergeant Gavin Wilkes, from Peterlee CID, said: “To prey on an elderly and vulnerable lady in the place where she should be able to feel at her most safe and comfortable is despicable.
“We will do everything we can to trace the person responsible and bring them to justice.
“Hazel woke up just as the thief was leaving through the front door. She believes the suspect is a woman who was wearing black leggings.
“We’d urge anyone who has any information on who is responsible, or if anyone is offered these rings for sale, to contact us immediately.”
Please call Durham Constabulary on 101 with information, quoting incident number 190 of November 21.
The stolen jewellery includes:
1. A woman’s sapphire and diamond cluster ring. The sapphire is blue in colour and the band is yellow gold.
2. A woman’s blue sapphire and diamond ‘eye shaped’ ring. There are three sapphires set inside the ring with the middle sapphire being the largest. The diamonds are on the outside. Again, the band is yellow gold.
3. A woman’s tourmaline oval shaped ring, with a green stone in the middle with diamond stones set around the outside. This is on a yellow gold band.
4. A woman’s yellow gold banded filigree engagement ring. This has space for three diamonds in it, but one of the outer diamonds is missing.
5. A woman’s yellow gold thick banded ring with a rectangle shape to the front. This contains six to seven red garnets on it.
6. A woman’s yellow gold banded ring shaped like a flower with red garnets and one stone missing.
7. A woman’s yellow gold banded ring with an opal and garnet cluster. The opal is white and is situated in the middle with the red garnets around it.
8. A woman’s gold banded ring with an oval shape containing a blue opal with flashes of red in it.
9. A man’s gold signet ring, heavy, with a squiggle in the corner.
10. A woman’s gold bangle with openwork hearts.