Hayling family 'feel unsafe in their home' after thieves steal First World War medals and £60k camper

A FRIGHTENED family have vowed to turn their home into ‘Fort Knox’ after burglars broke in for a second time and stole priceless family heirlooms.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 8:20 am

Rod Porteous and his wife, Maureen, were asleep in their bed when a gang of thieves ransacked their home in South Road, Hayling Island.

The intruders used bolt croppers to break into the back of the property before stealing First World War medals belonging to Mr Porteous’s grandfathers, as well as a 19th century pocket watch belonging to one of his other relatives.

They also snatched the keys to the couple’s white, custom VW Transporter T30 H-LN campervan worth £60,000 and stole a wallet with bank cards in it.

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Rod Porteous from Hayling Island, has had his home burgled for the second time within two years. The most recent burglary took place on Friday, July 19 stealing a £60,000 VW campervan, WW1 medals belonging to his grandfathers and a pocket watch. Picture: Sarah Standing (230719-2319)

It’s the second time in less than two years the home has been targeted leaving the couple in fear criminals are spying on them.

‘We don’t feel safe in our own home now, we just feel so violated,’ 62-year-old Mr Porteous said. ‘We’re living under this constant threat now.

‘We know somebody is watching our house. Our home had been well and truly cased beforehand. They knew exactly when to strike.

‘We’re now going to have to turn our home into Fort Knox.’

Some of the First World War medals that were stolen. Photo: Hampshire police

The raid took place between 10.45pm on Friday and 12.30am Saturday, police said.

Mr Porteous, a retired engineering director for Portsmouth Water, said the loss of his grandfathers’ four campaign medals and the £10,000 golden pocket watch was a huge blow.

The father-of-two added: ‘The medals are part of our family history. It wouldn’t matter if they were worth £5, £500, or £5,000 – they’re so important to us.’

The latest break-in has brought back traumatic memories of the previous raid at the home last year, when thieves stole a £40,000 Audi Quattro – which contained 63-year-old Mrs Porteous’s late mother’s ashes.

Rod Porteous from Hayling Island, has had his home burgled for the second time within two years. The most recent burglary took place on Friday, July 19 stealing a £60,000 VW campervan, WW1 medals belonging to his grandfathers and a pocket watch. Picture: Sarah Standing (230719-2343)

Mr Porteous said: ‘I’ve been married to Maureen for 35 years and I have never seen her so hysterical. She is devastated.

‘The first break-in her mother’s ashes were in a cask in the car that was stolen – she was going to intern them the following day.

‘The thieves then came back and hung them on the front door.

‘This brought back all those horrible memories from 16 years ago where Maureen thought she had lost her mother.

The gold pocket watch from the 1800s with an 'unusual' chain was snatched by thieves.

Police investigating the latest break-in say the campervan, registration number HJ18 OHP, left Hayling shortly after the raid. It has distinctive blue cabinets inside.

The medals were mounted onto dark wooden frames with a grey background. Each frame contained two medals and the original envelopes they were sent in. The ribbons of the medals were multi-coloured.

The pocket watch had an unusual chain from the 1800s and was in a glass cabinet.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police staff investigator Catherine Cole on 101 quoting crime reference number 44190253707.

The second set of First World War medals that were stolen during the raid on the property in Hayling Island. Photo: Hampshire police