An elderly couple returned from holiday to discover thieves had trashed their home and stole sentimental jewellery and cash.
Paul and Jean Williams, from Pittville, Cheltenham, were devastated to discover almost every drawer in their home had been emptied by the burglars. The great-grandparents had a safe containing an undisclosed sum of cash, a precious nine carat gold diamond rings and a gold Seiko watch stolen.
Mr Williams, 84, said they believed someone was watching the house, which was being looked after by their farmer grandson while they were in Jersey. He left the Selkirk Close home at around 9pm on Monday night to check on his pheasants before the couple returned to their home of 13 years two hours later to find the devastation.
Mr Williams, a former managing director of a Cirencester firm, said: "We live in a bungalow and they broke in through a bedroom window. When we got in we saw they had just trashed the place.
"The drawers in the two bedrooms, the hall study and kitchens had all been pulled out and scattered all over the room. Naturally it was devastating. It was such a shock and something that you just don't expect."
The couple's bedroom was so trashed that Mr Williams and his 81-year-old wife had to sleep in their living room chairs for the evening. Mrs Williams, who has been battling cancer for the past five years, recently broke her hip in a fall and has gone into hospital following the burglary. Former serviceman, Mr Williams, who was based in Innsworth when he was with the RAF, also underwent a hip replacement three months ago. "It has been difficult time for us, but we will keep soldiering on," the keen radio control aircraft flyer said.
"My wife has not been well and this really has not helped, but you have got to get on with things and we will. Although the jewellery wasn't worth vast sums, it was of sentiment value and quite special.
"Being in the house doesn't worry me, but I don't know how Jean will feel, it is too early to tell really."
The couples' four daughters have been round to their home, which they share with Alfie the long haired mini dachshund, and helped clear up the mess the intruders made.
Police have been carrying out forensic investigations in the house. and Mr Williams said he could not speak highly enough of their support.
Chris Jackson, spokesman for Gloucestershire police, said: "House-to-house and forensic inquiries are continuing but the victims have been left very distressed by the incident and police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward straight away.
"Other residents in the area will be visited by officers offering security advice and reassurance."
Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area or can help in any way should call 101, quoting incident 557 of September 1.