A DEVASTATED cancer victim returned home from having treatment to find cherished garden furniture had been stolen by callous thieves.
Brave Pauline Crichton, 64, had a masectomy operation earlier this month after being struck down by breast cancer for the second time in eight years.
She had her breast removed at the University Hospital of Hartlepool on Tuesday, March 5, and was allowed home two days later.
But just days later, after she and her husband Peter, 65, returned from a visit to her doctor’s to have her dressing removed, the couple discovered two treasured ornamental dogs had been stolen from the front garden of their home in Jowitt Road, in the West View area of Hartlepool.
Mum-of-three Pauline said: “It was already an emotional day and there had been tears from both of us.
“But when we came back and Peter was helping me out of the car and we noticed the dogs had been taken, it knocked me for six.
“It just gives you a horrible feeling to know somebody has been on your premises and stolen from you.”
The theft of the two grey concrete bulldogs, which are around 3ft high, is the second time the couple have been targetted in a matter of months.
In the week between Christmas and New Year, three ‘wise monkeys’, which were orange-coloured concrete orangutangs and 18in high, were stolen from their back garden.
Retired Hartlepool Steelworks and ex-power station worker Peter said: “We never noticed they were missing on the way out - obviously we had other things on our mind.
“I had stuck them down but whoever did it has managed to get them up.”
Pauline who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had the lump removed at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, followed by 15 weeks of radiotherapy at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.
She had to take Tamoxifen for five years, before being given the all-clear in 2010.
But in February this year, Pauline’s worst fears were confirmed when she found another lump.
“My stomach churned,” she said.
Doctors told her she would have to have her breast removed as there was a risk of side-effects from more radiotherapy.
Pauline, who is mum to Peter, 43, Sharon, 31, and the late Mark, who passed away aged 33 in 2008, said: “It knocked me sideways.
“To be targeted by thieves on the day I had my dressing taken off was the last thing I needed.”
Officers from Hartlepool Police are investigating the thefts, with the latest thought to have happened between the early hours and 11am on March 12.
Anyone with information is urged to contact PC Simon Lowther on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.