A HEARTLESS burglar broke into the home of a Sheffield soldier and stole his war medals - despite being confronted by his shocked younger sister.
Alec Wood, aged 25, was awarded the two medals for his service as a Private with the Territorial Army's Yorkshire Regiment in Iraq and Kosovo.
Today his sister Eleanor, 19, said her brother had been left "really upset" by the cruel theft, adding: "Medals are one of the worst things you can take away from a person in the Army. He lost friends on both tours, so the medals are very sentimental to him."
The items were stolen from the home Eleanor and Alec share on Peveril Road, Greystones, at around 2am on Wednesday January 12.
Eleanor said she was woken by a noise from downstairs. She added: "I went to the back door and it was open, so I closed it and locked it. Then I was walking upstairs and saw a man on the landing."
Eleanor said the thief was around 5ft 9in tall, white, aged in his late 20s and dressed all in black, including a black beanie hat and gloves.
She said: "I guess it was your typical burglar outfit. I just had a weird conversation with him, I said: 'Hello, who are you?'
"Obviously, I was scared, but I was more confused than anything. I just thought 'What are you doing in my house?'".
Eleanor managed to shout her housemate, trainee midwife Anna Winnell, 24, who asked the burglar to leave before they called 999.
Eleanor said: "The police came round straightaway. He'd made off with my brother's camera and medals, though the camera was already broken."
The inscribed medals are both roughly the size of a 50 pence piece, mounted together on a blue felt backing board.
The Iraq medal has a sand-coloured ribbon with a black, white and red strip running through the centre, while the Kosovo medal has a blue ribbon with a white and silver strip.
Eleanor, a second year law student at Oxford Brookes University, said Alec - now promoted to the rank of lieutenant - went to Iraq aged 19, and visited Kosovo more recently. He is currently away on training exercises.
Eleanor said: "In Iraq he was doing patrols, he drove vehicles in and around Basra, working on checkpoints and things like that. He didn't really speak about Kosovo much.
"The only way he can get other medals is if we have a replica of them made, and that's not really the same. He would really like them back.
"The thief probably thought they were worth something, and they could be sold - but you can't without a certificate. Only the black market can take them.
"He's really upset about it."
A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police confirmed they are investigating the burglary.
She said: "It is believed the intruder gained entry to the property via a back door. The occupants who were in the property at the time heard a noise and went to investigate, and were confronted by a man dressed in black.
"The intruder fled from the property taking two war medals and a camera."
Anyone in the area between 1.30am and 2am on Wednesday January 12 and saw anything suspicious, or has any information about the medals' whereabouts, should call the police on 0114 2202020 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
A 100 reward is being offered by Alec's family for the medals' safe return.
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