DETECTIVES have called for the burglars who stole war medals in a series of raids in the Wetherby area to hand themselves in.

The stolen medals include the Burma Star, a First World War Victory Medal and a 1939-1945 Star taken from a house in Lime Kiln Lane, Kirk Deighton.

Some medals taken from a house in Spofforth included the engraving W G Whitehead.

The burglars also took Rotary Club regalia and jewellery during a burglary in Little Ribston.

Detective Constable Sam Harding said: “It is beyond belief that someone would steal such sentimental items from innocent members of the public. I am making a direct appeal to those who are responsible. Some of the bravest and most honourable men and women fought and died so you could continue to live in a safe place.

“These medals were given to those men and women for their tremendous efforts. You have not earned these medals and they deserve to be in the possession of the family of those brave people.

“We urge you to please show some respect for the people that sacrificed themselves for you and contact the police so the medals can be reunited with their rightful owners.”

Det Con Harding also called on medal collectors or anyone else who may have been offered the medals for sale and anyone with information about the raids to contact him or Crimestoppers.

He said the burglars may have reconnoitred the area around each property beforehand and urged villagers to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles.

He said: “Please don’t ever think your information is trivial, it could be vitally important to our investigation. Please trust your instinct and report anyone or any vehicle that looks out of place. This type of information can be of huge value to the police and regularly helps us to disrupt criminals.”

The first burglary was at Little Ribston on December 10.

On December 20, the burglars carried out the Kirk Deighton theft and on December 23, they took several military medals, including the ones that had been awarded to Mr Whitehead and a Royal Artillery beret badge, from a house in Spofforth. Three of the medals had been mounted on a red and blue ribbon.