THE family of a 97-year-old widow are appealing for help to trace heirlooms and wartime mementoes stolen from her terraced home.
Police are asking for the public to help trace more than 30 distinctive military items and family silver, which include a military sword and family crest.
It is believed thieves may have stolen the items during several trips to the house near Kingsbridge. The sword belonged to the woman's late husband, a veteran of the Dunkirk evacuation in the Second World War. It had hung on her wall for more than 40 years.
The other items had been stored in an upstairs bedroom after a recent flood. The woman told family she thought she saw an intruder on November 23 and items were then found to be missing.
Dc Jenny Parsons, of Newton Abbot CID, said: "The elderly lady has been having some work done on her house after a fire and has left the door on the latch for the workmen."
A relative said: "She is still very fit and wants to live independently but she has some memory problems. The sword was her husband's sword. He served in the Navy and was at the evacuation of Dunkirk.
"It had been on the wall for over 40 years. All the items were family heirlooms. We have found more and more things which are missing.
"A calling card was stolen that is inscribed on the back from Hill 60, the Great War site at Flanders.
"Her husband was the son of one of seven brothers who all survived the first world war. But sadly his father died in the great flu epidemic when he came back from the war in 1918. All of these items are important, not just for our family history, but they are important historical items in their own right."
Anyone who has information about any stolen property is asked to call DC Simon Sherwood on 01803 218114.