AN ELDERLY couple were devastated to find thieves had swiped their beloved garden chairs and table which were bolted into the paving in their front garden.
Pauline and Jimmy Docherty bought the wooden bench and table three years ago and have enjoyed many an afternoon sitting in the sunshine in their front garden.
But the couple, who live in Eaglesfield Road, in the Owton Manor area of town, were shocked to find the furniture had gone when they got up on the morning of Sunday, September 1.
Pauline, 76, a retired filing clerk, said: “It was bolted to a paving slab with a chain so whoever has done it must have come prepared, they must have sussed it out beforehand.
“To be honest, it never, ever crossed our mind that anyone would think of stealing it.
“It’s something we have used every single day this summer.
“We were both devastated when we woke up and saw what had happened.”
Pauline and Jimmy, 78, a retired rigger, had been to an 80th birthday party on the Saturday evening.
They got home about midnight and went straight to bed but woke up the next morning to find that thieves had taken the seats and table.
“It will have taken two people to lift it because it was all joined together,” added Jimmy.
“It’s two high-backed seats and a table so it wasn’t something someone could have just picked up and walked away with.”
Police are now appealing for any witnesses or anyone who noticed anything unusual in the area on the evening in the hope of tracking the garden furniture and the thieves down.
Pauline, a mum-of-four who has six grandchildren and one great-grandson on the way, added: “What has it come to when you can’t have a bench in your front garden without worrying that it’s going to be stolen?
“I would imagine it has probably been taken to a car boot sale or something like that and sold on.”
Pauline said she thinks the thieves might have attempted to steal the bench a week earlier.
She explained: “The week before it was stolen I noticed that one end of the bench was lifted a little bit which I thought was a little bit odd because it was too heavy for the wind to do that.
“But it never dawned on me that it could have been someone trying to take it.”
Cleveland Police confirmed they were called out to the house on Sunday, September 1, after receiving reports of a bench being stolen.
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Winifred Hind on the non-emergency 101 number.