A PENSIONER says heartless burglars who stole his life savings are forcing him out of his home.
Church-goer Joseph Carr, 78, was out visiting his sick wife Dorothy, 72, in hospital when the raiders ransacked his home.
Dorothy has been in hospital in Hartlepool since Easter, as her condition has deteriorated since she suffered a major stroke in 1992 and has gone on to have six mini strokes.
Her husband returned to their home of 50 years after seeing his wife, who also suffers from cerebral dementia, but was shocked to discover his bedroom had been ransacked.
Thieves had turned his room “upside down” and stolen a five-figure sum out of his safe.
Joseph, of Milton Avenue, in Blackhall, said the money was going to be used to pay for his and his wife’s funerals and also to pay for putting Dorothy in a care home.
They also took jewellery, including rings Dorothy had bought Joseph over the years.
Joseph, a miner at Blackhall pit for 35 years, admits he is still trying to come to terms with his ordeal, but he said: “I was shocked. I wasn’t annoyed.”
It wasn’t until afterwards that Joseph discovered entry had been forced to the property through the front door.
The grandfather-of-eight and great-grandfather-of-four said the hardest thing was having to tell Dorothy about the break-in and that their “jackpot” had been stolen.
“I didn’t want to tell her, but I was advised to,” said the dad-of-four.
“But she just said ‘as long as we’re together’, she took it well.”
But Joseph said: “I’m a big church-goer, my faith has helped me through.
“I would forgive them.”
But he did say he wanted the culprits caught and “made an example of so other people will see it’s not right”.
He added that he had put applications in for smaller accommodation since the incident.
“It’s been through my ailing help, but since this I couldn’t cope, so I have applied for smaller accommodation,” he said.
“Dorothy is incapable of helping me and that’s a stick in the mud for her.”
It was the couple’s 51st wedding anniversary on Monday, but Joseph said they didn’t feel like celebrating after what had happened.
Dorothy is moving into a care home on Monday, after Joseph scraped together some money, and family chipped in.
PC Paul Harbisher, of Peterlee crime team, said it was hoped that by Joseph speaking publicly would “tug on the heartstrings” of either the culprits or anyone who knows who is responsible for the shocking crime, which happened between 1.30pm and 7.30pm on Thursday, September 25.
He said all lines of inquiry are open as it could be someone local or cross-border criminals.
He added: “Joseph is very vulnerable and obviously devastated. “He has obviously been targeted in that people knew he has been in and out at certain times.
“A five-figure sum has been stolen and someone must be flashing the cash they have never had in the past.”
The jewellery stolen is a pocket watch with a white face and gold chain, a gold sovereign ring featuring St George, a gold ring with a black onyx and an Irish Claddagh ring.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Peterlee Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.