Ex-Parachute Regiment officer heartbroken as medals from Northern Ireland and Falklands are stolen
A former soldier said he was heartbroken after medals he was given for service in Northern Ireland and the Falklands were stolen during a break-in at his home.
The ex-Parachute Regiment officer said the medals represented many friends he lost in various conflicts.
Thieves broke into his Newtownards home on Wednesday evening, between 7pm and 8pm, stealing three handguns, a rifle, jewellery and the medals. The weapons and medals had been stored in a safe which was removed from a wall by the culprits.
He cried when asked what the medals meant to him. "Everything," he said. "They represent what I gave half my life for. They are of great sentimental value and I'm getting upset even talking about it. I just want them back."
The thieves broke into a shed and used a sledgehammer to smash their way into the victim's home when he was out for just an hour.
They then used a petrol cutter to remove the gun case, from which they took the legally held weapons, jewellery and cherished medals.
The 55-year-old, originally from Dorset in England, moved to Northern Ireland 20 years ago. He also served with UN peacekeepers in Cyprus.
"I was in the Army for 23 years," he said. "I received the medals for service here, in the Falklands and various other places. I got the gallantry award for the Falklands."
Police are appealing to anyone with information to contact them on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.