‘I doubt we’ll catch him’

‘Everything you would expect the police to do, I have done’

Police have come under fire from the family of a 96-year-old war hero who had “60 years of memories” stolen in a terrifying burglary.

A man broke into Molly Luke’s home at about 8pm last Thursday in Pelham Crescent, Churchdown, then took jewellery valuing more than £100,000.

The jewellery was the pensioner’s way of remembering her late husband and nephew – but the burglar took it after shining a torch in her face while she lay in bed.

Molly, who built munitions during the Second World War, was victim to the burglary just days before Remembrance Sunday.

‘I doubt we’ll catch him’

Now her great-niece Kelly Denham-Reid has criticised a lack of police action since the crime took place.

She said a PCSO who came to Pelham Crescent on Friday told her: “I doubt we’ll catch him.”

Kelly said: “They really seemed more interested in issuing a crime reference number and checking that she had insurance.”

She is unhappy no officer has visited Molly since Friday, though police did call this afternoon to make an appointment.

Kelly has spoken to neighbours in a bid to get a lead on a suspect. She says none of those she talked to had been contacted by police.

“Everything you would expect the police to do, I have done,” she continued.

“I have been in touch with local businesses myself and sent photos of the items to local pawnbrokers. I have also been checking eBay.

“The police haven’t even asked for a full list of stolen property.

“I sent the photos to them in an email myself because once they let us back into Molly’s house, they never asked us what had been taken.”

She feels the investigation has been “unacceptable”.

Asked how Ruardean-born Molly is feeling after the experience, Kelly said: “She is shaken but she is tough.”

She also gave a full list of jewellery stolen:

  • 1 x 18 karat gold ruby and diamond ring, set with a large, pear-cut ruby and approximately 2.5 carat diamonds.
  • 1 x 18 karat gold and diamond wedding ring.
  • 1 x 18 karat gold ruby and diamond ring, set as a trinity of rubies and diamond clusters.
  • 1 x 18 karat gold emerald and diamond ring, set with large, square-cut central emerald and surrounded by a cluster of diamonds.
  • 1 x 18 karat gold sapphire and diamond trinity ring, with central sapphire and two diamond shoulders.
  • 1 x 18 karat gold ring set with small diamonds, approximately 1/4 carat.
  • 1 x 18 karat gold eternity ring, set all around with small diamonds.
  • 1 x pair of 18 karat gold earrings, set with diamonds and black sapphires.
  • 1 x pair of 18 karat gold earrings, set with emeralds and diamonds.
  • 1 x pair 18 karat, plain gold earrings.
  • 1 x 18 karat gold bracelet, set with expanding links and central locket.
  • 1 x 18 karat gold cross locket necklace, set with diamonds and sapphires.

What police say

A Gloucestershire police spokesman said: “We do take incidents such as this very seriously and the investigation to find who is responsible for this callous crime is ongoing.

“Following on from the burglary a public witness appeal was issued on social media, a Your Community Alert was sent to the surrounding area and police have taken part in reassurance patrols.

“Our officers visited the victim on Friday and have also conducted house to house enquiries since then.

“We have spoken to the neighbour who had information which may help the investigation and we are following up on these lines of enquiry.”

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 and quote incident 422 of November 8.