Family anguish as Christmas presents and irreplaceable wedding rings are stolen
9:02am Thursday 2nd January 2014 in News
A PENARTH family had their Christmas ruined after a burglar stole two bags of presents worth hundreds of pounds and “irreplaceable” wedding rings worth nearly £4,000.
The burglar, who was nearly caught by the family of four in the early hours of Saturday, December 21, gained entry to the property via the back door while the family was still awake upstairs.
Robert Phillips, brother of Welsh rugby star Mike Phillips, said it was the second time their Bradenham Place home had been broken into since they moved in five-and-a-half years ago.
During the first burglary, around three years ago, priceless memorabilia including Cardiff Blues shirts and ticket stubs to British and Irish Lions matches in South Africa were stolen.
After the first burglary Robert, who works for Arriva Trains Wales, attempted to make the house more secure by putting up higher fencing in the garden and security lights, but thieves still managed to find a way to get in.
Robert, 39, said that both he and his wife Claire were awake when they heard a noise downstairs at about 2am on Saturday morning. By the time he went downstairs the thief had escaped through the back garden where he had originally come from.
The family were still awake as they were due to fly out to Paris the following afternoon to spend Christmas with Racing Metro star Mike Phillips. It was only when they got back that they realised that the bags of presents had also been stolen as they assumed they had left them at home.
Credit cards, a handbag, a Playstation 3 games console, DVDs, two mobile phones and a wallet were stolen.
Claire’s eternity ring, engagement ring and wedding ring were also stolen during the burglary.
Claire said that the rings, which she rarely took off, were “irreplaceable”.
“Those are the things you can’t get back,” said Robert.
“We can’t go back to Egypt and buy that engagement ring again. That’s the most annoying part of the thefts.”
He added that he heard the burglar when they were in the house.
“My first thought was frustration as I was that close to catching them,” he said.
“I heard them leaving. You don’t think there’s someone in the house, you think maybe it's next door.
“Then by the time you shout he’s ten metres away and by the time you get downstairs he’s out the garden.”
Claire, 42, added: “You don’t think someone would have the brass neck to come into your house at 2am.”
She added that she tried not to be “extremely upset” as she didn’t want it to ruin Christmas for their children.
She added that her nine-year-old daughter Menna, as well as Menna's twin Osian, were “absolutely devastated” by the thefts, but that a few days away in Paris with their uncle Mike helped take their minds off it.
“We took them up the Eiffel Tower and kept them busy,” she said.
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “Entry was gained to the property via a rear door and a quantity of property, including a handbag, wallet, mobile phone, jewellery and wrapped Christmas presents was stolen.
“Police are appealing to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area between 2am and 2.30am on Saturday, December 21, to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”