THIEVES who broke into a car stole a cross in memory of a dead soldier.
David Reid, 68, of Priory Crescent, Milton, was devastated to discover the back window of his car had been smashed.
Mr Reid, a member of the Blendworth Brass Band, had left two bags containing musical instruments and parts in his boot.
But one of the bags also contained a memorial cross, which is about six inches tall, with a red poppy in the middle of it.
It had been given to him to take over to a memorial site in Belgium.
The tuba player, who used to be a member of the Portsmouth City Band, said: ‘Last October I joined the PCB in Littlehampton in a memorial service.
‘Later on we went to a fish and chip shop and I got talking to a man about memorials.
‘I mentioned that members of the Blendworth Brass Band would be going to perform at war memorial sites in Europe in 2011.
‘This man then produced a small, wooden memorial cross.
‘He wrote some details of one of his relatives, who had died in a war, and asked me to take it to Europe and place it at one of the memorials.
‘I agreed to do this and put the cross in a zipped compartment of my band bag.’
Members of the Blendworth Brass Band are due to fly out to Europe in the next few weeks, and the cross was to be taken to the Menin Gate Memorial, in Belgium.
But on Monday, May 9, Mr Reid woke up to find his green Renault Megane, which had been parked outside his house, had been broken into, and two bags had been stolen – including the cross.
Other items, including mouthpieces, gloves, a stool, a tambourine, triangles, whistle and shakers, worth around £400, were also taken.
‘We suspect the theft was triggered because the items were in a laptop bag,’ added Mr Reid.
‘We just want the cross back because of the sentimental value of it.
‘The musical items will be of no use to the thieves, so we would like those back to, as some had sentimental value as well.’
Items can be returned to 30 Priory Crescent, Milton.