Grieving wife’s upset as locket of hair is stolen

The wife of a man who dedicated his life to helping animals in distress has hit out at car thieves who broke into her car and stole dog food, mince pies, chocolates - and a locket containing her late husband's hair.

Lyz Hall, who runs the Hallswood Animal Sanctuary at Stratton Strawless set up by her husband Keith, who died in September last year, said she is shocked and saddened by the crime.

Mrs Hall, 31, left her Ford Fiesta car, which is used as a work car, at a car park in Lenwade on Monday after it developed some mechanical problems.

But when she went to collect it early the next day she discovered it had been broken into and vandalised with a number of items inside, including a gold locket and mince pies, stolen.

Mrs Hall said: 'I'm disgusted that someone would move paperwork that says Hallswood Animal Sanctuary and take dog food, sit and eat cheese and biscuits and steal a little locket that had a Keith's hair in it.

'It's not worth anything to anyone - they might have got �5 for it - and is hardly worth their while. It's fairly low, but I don't imagine they see any problem in that. It's kind of sad.'

The locket, which had the words 'Love you always' inscribed on the back of it, was taken along with a box of chocolates which had been bought for the fire brigade who helped rescue one of the ponies at the sanctuary.

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She said: 'It appears they've sat in a car under street lights eating cheese and biscuits - they left the wrappers behind.'

Mrs Hall said she thinks that those responsible had intended to take the car for a joyride, but when they were unable to just decided to trash the car and steal whatever they could lay their hands on.

The crooks, who got in through the back of the car, had to climb through hay to get into the front of the car where many of the items were kept.

The police are investigating the crime which comes just over a year after Mr Hall, died aged 63 following a major stroke.

Mr Hall had been battling throat cancer with homeopathic treatment and special medicines from Mexico after being diagnosed with the disease in 2009.

Tributes poured in for the tireless animal lover who had been working with animals since his teenage years.

An orphan he was brought up in a children's home in the south east of England and it was his passion for animals which he said had kept him out of scrapes. He became so successful that he had three animal sanctuaries in Essex by the 1970s one of which was the Brentwood Bird and Animal Sanctuary When his then wife Anne suffered a stroke they decided to move to the country and set up a smaller sanctuary in Stratton Strawless which was to become Hallswood Animal Sanctuary.

? Anyone with any information about the crime should call police on 0845 456 4567.

? Have you been a victim of an unusual crime? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email