A distraught mum today told how thieves smashed their way into her family home and stole her hero son’s irreplaceable Afghanistan campaign medal – while he serves his country on the front line.
Devastated Angela Tattersall said she returned to find her house ransacked and the priceless medal, which commemorates son Dale Snape’s tour of Helmand Province in 2009, missing.
The thieves struck as brave Dale, 22, a Lance Corporal with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), is part-way through his second dangerous tour of the conflict-torn country. He is due to return in six weeks.
Today, Angela, 45, of Hedgerows Road, Leyland, appealed for anyone with information about the stolen medal to return it.
She said: “They broke in through the kitchen window, and the police said we couldn’t go in there because they needed to get all the footprints and fingerprints.
“It was only when they said we could start tidying up that we realised what had gone. I had a brown leather box with all my personal stuff in, and that had Dale’s medal in it. He is out there doing his job and these people are just selfish. They must have known what it was.
“He’s out there now and there are people doing this.
“You have got these scumbags, who have probably never worked a day in their lives, coming into my house and taking my personal belongings and other people’s.
“I spoke to Dale the day after it happened, and he is just gutted. He was going to get it framed. I just want it back, it is no good to anyone, they can’t do anything with it.”
Dale, a former Worden Sports College pupil, joined the Army at 16.
In his last tour of Helmand, he was among mechanics based at Camp Bastion, and his role involved vehicle recovery, including in dangerous forward areas.
He lost two of his comrades during the tour.
Ms Tattersall said: “He said when a soldier leaves Camp Bastion they do a big parade, and he says all kinds of things go through your mind; what if you were in that position, and you think about their families.
“He kind of keeps it all away from me, because I can’t handle the fact he is in the Army in the first place. I try not to want to know what he does because, obviously, it is distressing.
“He says some things about what he does and doesn’t tell me other things, knowing he would be going back out.”
Today, police also appealed for anyone with information about the burglary to come forward.
As well as the medal, the thieves stole a wedding ring and engagement ring belonging to Ms Tattersall’s mum, who died eight years ago.
They also took two sovereigns which were made for Dale and his brother Ryan, 24, when they were born.
The boys’ late granddad got the sovereigns from the Royal Mint especially for them.
The family had returned from a trip to Blackpool Sandcastle to find the home ransacked.
Also taken was a safe containing cash, earrings, a watch and a laptop.
Ms Tattersall added: “It was a mess, an absolute mess, they had just completely ransacked it.
“I was just speechless, I couldn’t believe what I was walking into.
“I just feel devastated. It is really scary, my youngest son is frightened to death. The house is already up for sale, so we are moving.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said they were aware of the break-in and an investigation was under way.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555111.