St Helier family distraught after £1,500 stolen
A family which spent two years saving to pay for their beloved mother's gravestone were devastated when a thief stole the cash.
The Shields family were to due to buy a £1,500 headstone the next day when the burglar struck at their home in St Helier Avenue.
Mary Shields died of cancer in 2010 and since then family members have been putting aside anything they can to get their beloved mother a fitting headstone.
But the hooded sneak thief left their plans shattered after he broke into husband Brian Shields' house while he was doing the gardening on Tuesday morning.
Mr Shields, who suffers from leukaemia, had only taken the money out of his bank this week so he could pay for his and his wife's gravestone.
Peter Masters, Mr Shield's nephew, said: "We are not wealthy people, it has taken two years for everyone to save this money. My cousin Kerry collapsed when she found out, her whole world has fallen apart since her mum died and this just makes it harder for her."
Mr Masters, who drove for two-and-a-half hours from Peterborough as soon as he found out, said: "They are all in bits. Family comes before anything so I got here as fast as I could. I just want this heartless little so and so to see what he has caused. I waited up for him to come back last night but he didn't. We don't even know how he got in to the house."
"Devastated is an understatement, they have just lost their mum and wife, and now this. Brian is not well, and this gravestone was to be for him too so he can be buried with my aunt. Whoever did this is the scum of the earth."
Brian Shields, 71, a former painter and decorator, described how he confronted the burglar in his house. He said: "I heard banging about upstairs so I went to have a look. I went into the bedroom and saw a young guy with his hood up with a jar of money in his hands. I went to put my glasses down so I could stop him getting away and he flew past me downstairs."
"My daughter Kerry dare not leave the house, the whole place is now locked and bolted shut. Not only has she recently lost her mum, now she has this to contend with. Its not fair."
Kerry Shields, 21, a retail assistant, said: "I feel physically sick, I can't believe somebody would do this. I'm still really shaken up by the whole thing."