Thieves target Second World War veteran, 91
WHO could commit such a despicable act?
While veteran Second World War pilot and charity fundraiser Graham Furley slept, the 91-year-old's treasured possessions including his iPhone, watches and wallet, were stolen from his Stroud home.
Former RAF flyer Mr Furley had just learned he was to be honoured with the British Empire Medal for raising thousands of pounds over several decades for Stroud hospitals and other good causes.
"The iPhone had everything I needed to know on it, and I could always keep in touch," said Mr Furley, who dropped paratroopers over North Africa in 1944 and flew mercy missions over Burma.
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"The police have been excellent – I hope they catch the perishers."
The theft shocked family, friends, neighbours and police, who appealed for anyone who knows anything about the raid between midnight and 7pm on New Year's Day to step forward.
After forcing their way in through a side window, burglars took items including a watch with a gold spitfire on the face and a white metal strap, two watches with multi-dials and brown straps, a brown leather wallet, debit and credit cards, and a black Apple iPhone.
Police Sergeant Jo Fletcher said: "This gentleman is one of the country's heroes, having courageously served in the Second World War. This remarkable man literally put his life on the line to protect the nation and ensure freedom for future generations and then continued in his civilian life by devoting himself to charity work.
"For someone to break into his house is a despicable act and whoever has done this should be ashamed of themselves. We are calling on anyone who knows anything about this burglary to come forward and help us catch those responsible."
Former garage proprietor Mr Furley is a popular figure in the town.
A Stroud Rotary Club member since 1968, and Stroud Hospitals League of Friends fundraiser for a similar period, he is well known for towing Santa's sleigh behind his white VW Beetle to raise funds.
Last week he said he was "mystified" at the BEM, brought back to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. His main job as a pilot in his early 20s was to deliver new planes over the Atlantic.
Then after the Second World War, his time in Burma as a pilot was a "turning point" in his life.
Making aid drops to civilians, he spotted a village which had been razed to the ground. He urged his senior ranks to allow an extra drop.
"We did so and tipped our wings on the way out, then a week later a man arrived with a wooden box he had made," said Mr Furley. "I was told he had walked for a week through the jungle to say thank you. I've always valued people saying thank you since then."
Anyone with information that could help the investigation should call police on 101 quoting incident 309 of January 1, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.