South Tyneside Falklands War veteran's stolen medals returned after 15 years
The former serviceman was on holiday at the time of the theft and had to endure a painful flight home after discovering his South Atlantic medal and his Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal had both been stolen.
Anthony began to accept he wouldn’t get them back until his wife Lorraine spotted them for sale on a London-based medal website to give him a glimmer of hope.
The couple reported it to Northumbria Police who worked with their counterparts at the Metropolitan Police to seize them.
On Monday, July 20, eight days after his 57th birthday, officers visited Anthony’s Pelaw home to return his medals.
Anthony said: “It was the best birthday present, a wonderful end to a long story. I was so upset when they were stolen, I was absolutely fuming.
“Over the years, I lost hope that I’d ever get them back so this was an incredible surprise and I’m really grateful to the police who were able to bring them home to me.
“I came close to finding them back in 2010, my friend came up for the Great North Run and mentioned that he’d recently seen them for sale in a pawnbrokers in Guisborough.
“When I travelled down the next day, the shop said they’d sold them only a couple of days earlier to a private collector, and it was going to be almost impossible to trace them.”
Detective Sergeant Chris Raper-Smith, who spearheads the Southern Burglary Team based at Southwick Police Station in Sunderland, was the officer who returned the medals.
He commented: “It’s a really nice end to the story. Having something so sentimental and personal stolen, after such a distinguished service, it must have been absolutely horrendous for Anthony to have to come to terms with.
“So often with these types of cases, the medals exchange hands so quickly and it’s very difficult to trace their whereabouts.
“After Anthony’s wife spotted them for sale online, we were determined to do our bit and make sure we brought them home to him.”