A PENSIONER has been left heartbroken after burglars broke into his shed and stole his vintage fishing rods.
Raymond Blench, 72, had been hoping to pass on the rods to his 15-year-old grandson and he said the equipment was of significant sentimental value.
He awoke on Father’s Day to find three padlocks broken off his garden shed and the nine rods and reels, worth £1,400, had gone.
Raymond had not used the equipment for at least a decade after suffering a major heart attack 11 years ago and then having a stroke two years later.
But the rods meant a lot to the grandfather-of-four, who won the Hartlepool Open fishing competition around 20 years ago.
He said: “It’s annoying really, these rods are difficult to get – you can’t replace them.
“They cost me a lot.”
His wife, Lynn, 62, said: “It’s really affected and upset him.”
Raymond’s family have appealed for help in tracing the rods on social networking site Facebook and police are looking into the case and have launched an appeal for information.
The thieves broke into the dad-of-two’s garden shed sometime between the night of Saturday, June 15, and the early hours of Sunday, June 16.
The retired motor mechanic, who started fishing in his teens, said: “I’ve never been broken into before, it’s terrible. They smashed the shed open with a big lever, they even took the locks, and the door was off.”
Among the brands taken were Tawny, Ambassador and Hardy rods.
Lynn, of George Avenue, Easington Colliery, added: “The two Hardy Longbows that were missing, he actually bought those in the late 1970s. He even bought some from as far as Blackpool and Suffolk.
“He used to love going fishing, but he gave it up because of major health problems.”
She said Raymond would have passed on the rods to their grandson, Karl Raynes, 15, and added: “I think it’s been an opportunist thing, there was very little in there.
“The fact that they’ve taken them probably means they wouldn’t even hazard a guess at the value of them.”
Anyone with information about the incident, or who may have been offered the rods, is urged to contact PC Tony Donnelly at Peterlee Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.