Stamp collector (95) mourns theft of his "life's work"
31 January 2013
CRUEL thieves made off with a 95-year-old man's treasured stamp collection during a burglary – and left their devastated victim mourning the loss of his "life's work".
The Solihull pensioner’s collection dates back to the 1930s when, as a schoolboy, he started work on his first stamp scrapbook.
It rapidly expanded until, at the latest count, the passionate philatelist had amassed up to 10,000 stamps, including six albums containing British First Day Covers and around 4,000 unused stamps from the 1970s.
However, almost the entire collection disappeared when thieves broke into his Sharman’s Cross home earlier this month whilst he enjoyed a short break away.
Solihull Police are now appealing for information about the burglary – which occurred between 4.30pm on 17 January and 9am on 20 January – or the whereabouts of the stamps.
DC Lucinda Wilson from Solihull Police CID, said: “We’ve made enquiries with local dealers and antiques stores and are particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have been offered all or part of the collection for sale.
“There are thousands of stamps in the collection but it’s not worth a vast amount of money and, of course, there’s a very limited market available for those responsible to try and sell them on.
“The victim is truly devastated at losing his stamp albums so we’re also asking the people who took them to do the decent thing and return them.”
The victim’s daughter, Elizabeth Styles, said her father – who served with the Military Police in the Middle East – is deeply upset at the theft.
She said: “He wasn’t a stamp dealer he just loved collecting them and would spend hours browsing through his catalogues and arranging the stamps – they gave him a huge amount of pleasure and he’d much rather flick through the collection than watch TV.
“Speaking to him after the break-in he said ‘they’ve taken my life’s work’ – the stamps meant that much to him and he would be overjoyed beyond any imagination if he could get them back.”
The thieves broke into the house through a rear patio door and are understood to have spent a considerable length of time in the house, searching every room and even going into the loft.
A gold Rolex watch with its original leather strap – engraved on the back with 'BMK Carpets 25 years' – was also taken during the burglary.
Anyone with information, or who believes they may have seen the stamp collection or the Rolex, is urged to contact Solihull Police CID on the 101 number, or alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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