A family has been traumatised by the theft of more than £15,000 worth of gold and diamond jewellery.
Precious family heirlooms and mementoes including wedding rings were among the haul of a thief who stole into their secluded home.
Carolyn Burns and her daughter Alice were in when the intruder struck. They say their home now feels ‘violated’.
They have pleaded for the return of their property including jewellery that belonged to Carolyn’s late mum, grandfather and grandmother.
Carolyn said she has not eaten or left her Warninglid home since she discovered the burglary, while Alice is so traumatised she can’t sleep without her mum or dad with her.
Carolyn, 43, said the jewellery was distinctive, encrusted with diamonds and engraved but also everyday wear that she and her husband, Ashley, wore all the time.
She said: “It’s not about the money. It’s just I’m gutted, absolutely. I haven’t been able to leave the house. I thought it was bad enough when my mum died tragically four years ago but this is a different feeling: it’s total violation of my house.”
The family think they know who is responsible for the burglary but police have so far been unable to make an arrest.
Carolyn says the thief must have come across fields to the rear of their mobile home and climbed through the bedroom window.
It happened between 8am and 8.45am when the electric gates to their property were sealed and their three Alsatian guard dogs at the front of their home at Highfield, off Brighton Road, Warninglid, were distracted by workmen nearby.
“The dogs did bark but I didn’t think anyone was breaking into the back of my house,” Carolyn said. “I’ve lived here for 43 years and we have never had anything stolen before, even when the old A23 was here.
“If the person who took it was to bring it back, put it through our post box or get it back some other way, I would forget it because I just want it back.
“I haven’t eaten since it happened, I’m so sick to the stomach and my little girl won’t go up to her bedroom at night, me or my husband have to sleep with her. She can’t comprehend how someone could come into our house like this while we were there.”
The jewellery was in a silver pot in a bedroom drawer. Carolyn discovered it was missing the next day when she went to put her rings on.
Included was a double buckle gold ring which she had made for Ashley for his 18th birthday 25 years ago. Two years ago she had two diamonds set into the top of the ring from her mum, Emily Russell, following her sudden death.
There was also a single gold buckle ring, previously her grandfather’s and now her husband’s wedding ring engraved with the name ‘A Burns’ and their wedding date of the 18th of July 1992.
There was a three-diamond gypsy ring; a gold horseshoe bracelet, previously Carolyn’s mum’s; a sapphire and diamond boat ring, which was Carolyn’s grandmother’s and is now her own engagement ring; a gold wedding band with five diamonds, which was also Carolyn’s grandmother’s and was given to her by Ashley. Finally, the haul included a heavy gold belcher chain with a horse pendant, which was a present from Ashley, and a gold belcher bracelet.
Det Con Andy Robinson appealed for the public’s help to secure the return of the jewellery.
He said: “The pieces that were stolen were distinctive, chunky pieces of jewellery that were each very valuable. I want to speak to anyone who was in the area around Brighton Road on Thursday morning and may have seen someone acting suspiciously around any of the homes.
“If you have been offered any large gold rings or bracelets since Thursday or have heard of any for sale please contact us.”
Contact police on 101 quoting serial 310 of 14/3, email email@example.com or call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Sussex Police launched Operation Magpie to tackle burglary across the county.