Teacher left numb' by theft from home

PUBLISHED: 14:29 06 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:53 04 May 2010

Happier times with Helen wearing one of the stolen bracelets.

Happier times with Helen wearing one of the stolen bracelets.

THIEVES have stolen precious gold jewellery given to a teacher by her fiancé, who died of a heart attack just before their wedding day. The two gold bracelets, which held special memories for Helen Smith, were stolen along with other sentimental jewellery

Helen with her empty jewellry box after the raid.

THIEVES have stolen precious gold jewellery given to a teacher by her fiancé, who died of a heart attack just before their wedding day.

The two gold bracelets, which held special memories for Helen Smith, were stolen along with other sentimental jewellery in a raid on her Littleport home.

They had been given to her by her fiancé, cabbie Chris Elmore, who died two months before they were due to marry.

The raiders also stole an Arabian gold bracelet, a gift to Helen from her eldest son to commemorate a trip to Australia to visit the brother she hadn't seen for 34 years.

And the thieves' haul included a gold crucifix, a 16th birthday present from her father.

They also stole 30,000 cigarettes worth about £500 which Helen brought back from a trip to France and Belgium four days earlier.

Helen, 53, returned from work to her Wisbech Road home to discover the break-in on Wednesday evening last week.

"I felt absolutely sick, numb," she said. "I just stood there and cried. The thieves had pulled everything out. It was a great shock.

"This jewellery held great sentimental value for me. These pieces of jewellery represent how lucky I have been to have been so loved. They are irreplaceable."

Helen's fiancé bought the gold bracelets as "spontaneous gifts" during their eight-year relationship.

"He wasn't very good at buying presents on birthdays or Christmas," she said, "but he would buy gifts when he felt like it."

Five years ago he suffered a heart attack as he drove home with his son following a game of golf.

Helen regularly wore the bracelets as a reminder of Chris and has made a desperate appeal for the return of them and the other stolen jewellery.

One of the bracelets was narrow, half snake or rope-like and the other half plain gold. It also had a small dent in it. The other was wider and had a cut out flower motif on half of it. Both were hinged bracelets.

The ornate Arabian gold bracelet had four yellow, pale orange and light brown stones set at regular intervals and the gold crucifix was on a gold chain.

Helen said: "The crucifix is the only tangible thing I have of my late father. I have no idea of the cash value but the sentimental value is beyond price.

"Ironically, when my father gave it to me he said it was to represent man's inhumanity to man. That has certainly been shown to be true."

Helen's break-in was one of a spate of burglaries in the village over the last few weeks.

Many have happened during the day and police have increased patrols in the area.

Ely Police Inspector Adam Gallop said: "Our advice to the public is to keep your doors locked and make sure any items of value are hidden.

"Offenders may be in the area looking for easy opportunities to steal small items, and if an item such as a handbag can be clearly seen through a window it does make the premises vulnerable."

INFO: Anyone with any information about the break-in or the stolen jewellery or cigarettes should contact Ely police on 0845 456 4564 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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