THIEVES daubed the taunting words ‘Unlucky, ha ha’ on a pensioner’s wall after ransacking his home and stealing his late wife’s jewellery and his uncle’s World War One medals.
Grandfather-of-four Terry Hopley returned from holiday to find his Sheffield home raided, and every drawer emptied on to the floor.
The 72-year-old was heartbroken to discover his late wife Maureen’s jewellery had been taken, along with his uncle’s First World War medals and a collection of commemorative coins. The two silver Great War medals were engraved on the back with the name ‘Private Forest’.
Today Terry - whose beloved wife of nearly 50 years died of bone cancer, aged 70, in 2009 - said the burglars are the ‘lowest of the low’.
“They are just scum to have done this,” he said.
“Everyone I have spoken to has been disgusted. It makes me feel sick.”
He said the jewellery and medals meant ‘so much’ to him.
“There were three necklaces, a gold locket, a bracelet, rings and earrings which all belonged to my wife, who died in January 2009,” Terry said. “It was all of sentimental value to me.
“The war medals won’t be of any use to the burglars, but they were given to me after my uncle died, and they mean a lot.”
The retired transport contractor, of Clover Gardens, Wincobank, said he was devastated to find the words ‘Unlucky, ha ha’ daubed across the wall in his living room.
A smiley face with the tongue poking out had been painted next to them.
His son Michael, 50, has scrubbed the graffiti off, but father-of-two Terry said he still feels ill when he thinks about it.
“I had been away on holiday in Tenerife and the house was getting checked regularly for me, but as soon as I pulled up and there were lights on and the burglar alarm was flashing I knew something was wrong,” he said.
“I couldn’t even get into the house at first because they had put the security chain on in case I came back, but when I did get inside they had ransacked the place.
“They had emptied every drawer and there were things all over the place.”
A collection of watches, two televisions, a laptop computer and bottles of spirits were also taken in the break-in.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed: “Police are investigating a burglary at an address in Wincobank.
“Officers are appealing for information after a number of sentimental items were stolen.
“The occupier returned home to find the house had been broken into and searched by intruders.
“A number of items of great sentimental value to the owner were stolen, including two World War One medals which belonged to a late relative, several commemorative British coins, and several items of jewellery.”
Anyone with information about the break-in or who saw anything suspicious should call South Yorkshire Police on 0114 220 2020 quoting incident 1,164 of September 30. Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.