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Burglars target poppy seller stealing photos of his naval career

PUBLISHED: 19:36 12 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:58 13 November 2017

Christopher Woollands, 80, who had his naval career photo album stolen in a recent burglary from his home in Reedham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Christopher Woollands, 80, who had his naval career photo album stolen in a recent burglary from his home in Reedham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

A poppy seller is defiant after photos illustrating his naval career were stolen from his home.

Christopher Woollands in 1961 in the Navy aboard HMS Rocket. Picture: Christopher WoollandsChristopher Woollands in 1961 in the Navy aboard HMS Rocket. Picture: Christopher Woollands

The pensioner’s house in Station Road, Reedham was broken into between 10am on Saturday, November 4 and 11am on Sunday, November 6.

Christopher Woollands, 80, said he could not understand what someone would want with his personal photos of himself and ships he served on.

He added: “They were all photos that meant something to me.

“I don’t feel violated by the break in, I just feel like whoever did it is a toe rag.

Christopher Woollands in 1962 in uniform for his wedding. Picture: Christopher WoollandsChristopher Woollands in 1962 in uniform for his wedding. Picture: Christopher Woollands

“I can never replace that album and I’d ask whoever has taken it to bring it back. What good is it to them?

“If they leave it on the doorstep anonymously or get it to the police quietly I would be very grateful.

“I worked my entire life, why can’t they too.”

The Chinese black lacquered photo album was purchased by Mr Woollands on a posting in the Far East and also acted as a music box when opened.

Mr Woollands, who is the treasurer to the Acle branch of the Royal British Legion, said around £330 was also stolen during the burglary.

He said he fears the burglars were looking for the money he had collected as a poppy seller, which fortunately was not kept in his house.

A £30 float belonging to the NOMAD theatre company which is based in the village for which Mr Woollands helps make props and scenery, was also taken by the thieves.

Det Con Gill Dawson at Great Yarmouth CID said to have such a sentimental item stolen is devastating for the victim, adding: “I’m keen to see the victim reunited with his historic records.”

Mr Woollands joined the Royal Navy aged 16 as a seaman and worked aboard many vessels, including anti-submarine torpedo ships and served for 12 years.

Among the pictures was one of Britain’s nuclear weapon test in 1957 on Christmas Island, or Kiritimati, in the Pacific Ocean.

Some of the ships he served on include HMS Perseus, HMS Saint, HMS Comus, HMS Cossack, HMS Undine, HMS Rocket, HMS Carysfort and HMS Indefatigable.

Anyone with information can call Det Con Dawson at Great Yarmouth CID on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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