A TREASURED memento left on the roadside where a popular teenager was killed has been returned after it was stolen by thieves branded as “low life” by his grieving family.
Rhys Hewitt died when he was hit by a car, last month, in Brenda Road, Hartlepool.
The 14-year-old’s death sparked a flood of tributes from family and friends at the spot - including one left by his older sister’s boyfriend Jay.
He had placed a Hartlepool United football with a personal message written on it to the youngster who he treated like a younger brother.
However, last Friday, family were devastated when on a visit to the site they found it had been stolen.
His heartbroken mum Jan Bushnall, from Seaten Carew, described the thieves as “low life” and begged for its return.
Yesterday, the ball had been put back close to the tributes.
His sister Sophie, 21, said: “I don’t know who took it or why, but it is now back. It was dumped near to the tributes, not where it had been before, but it’s back and that’s the main thing.
“We go up quite a lot and we had just gone up to have a look and it was there.
“I’m just so grateful that whoever has taken it, had a conscious and put it back.
“The whole thing has been so upsetting but I would like to say a huge thank you to the community for all their support - they have been brilliant spreading the message on Facebook and asking about. We are so grateful for all their help.”