A THIEF who stole a war hero’s medals and cherished jewels belonging to a widow so he could buy drugs has been jailed.
Margaret Robinson said she felt “kicked in the stomach” when she returned from work to find her house ransacked by Lee Robinson and her precious property gone forever.
The heartbroken householder, from Jarrow, has now made a desperate plea to the burglar in a bid to get the irreplaceable property back where it belongs.
A large amount of jewellery was taken, along with two medals earned during the First World War by relatives of Ms Robinson’s late partner, Kenneth Allan.
The medals and much of the jewellery, some of it bought by Mr Allan before he died, have not been recovered.
In a statement read to Newcastle Crown Court, the victim called on the thief to at least have the decency to reveal what he did with the medals and other items of immense sentimental value. She said: “I feel like I have been kicked in the stomach by what he has done to me.
“It has turned my life upside down and damaged what trust I have in people. I wish he would at least tell me what he has done with the property which was not recovered as it has great sentimental value to me.”
On the day of the burglary, in April, Ms Robinson went out to work in the morning. The court heard she had previously given Robinson’s girlfriend a key to her home when she was having relationship problems with him.
He found out about the key, took it and let himself in as he looked for money to bankroll his amphetamine addiction.
When Ms Robinson returned, she found the raider had made an untidy and thorough search of every room.
Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said: “She noticed sentimental items had been moved, boxes of items from her late partner. She realised she had been burgled. The defendant had taken his time, he had been in all the rooms and the loft space.
“In the course of his search he took a large amount of gold jewellery and items of sentimental value, not only to Ms Robinson, but also to her late partner. These included war medals from his side of the family and a gold bracelet given to her by him before he died.”
Robinson took some of the haul to Ramsden’s Goldsmith’s, in Jarrow, later that day, cashing it in for a fraction of its value. Those items, 12 necklaces and a watch and locket with a picture of Ms Robinson’s grandmother, were traced to the jewellers and recovered.
However, other items were never found, including the two war medals, 10 rings, a gold necklace, a bracelet and two passports.
Robinson, 37, of High Lane Row, Hebburn, who has 55 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to burglary and was jailed for two years.
Peter Schofield, defending, said: “He expresses shame and remorse for this.
“It’s the first time he has burgled a house and he became involved because he had spiralled back into drug addiction. He apologises for taking the key and being tempted to use it as he did.”