A THIEF broke into an elderly Ledbury woman’s home and stole cash she had set aside for Christmas presents.

The 92-year-old victim was in her lounge watching television when she heard a noise upstairs. She then saw a man rush past her and realised afterwards that £240 had been taken from a tin in her bedroom.

Police arrested 30-year-old Richard Davis, of Barnett Avenue, in Ledbury, following the incident on December 5 and he pleaded guilty to burglary when he appeared at Hereford Magistrates Court.

Police officers were so upset by what had happened that they applied to the West Mercia Police Community Fund to try and replace it.

Det Sgt Tim Dugmore, from Hereford’s CID burglary team, said he was delighted to be able to return the money to her in time for Christmas.

“When this woman had her home burgled, it wasn't just the cash that Davis took from her. He also took away the simple pleasure that we all experience in the giving of presents at Christmas, as that is what the money had been intended for,” he said.

“We were delighted when we were able to put the money in a Christmas card and give it to her along with a bunch of flowers, which meant that she could enjoy the festive period.”

After receiving the money, the pensioner returned a Christmas card to the burglary team with a note saying: “Remembering your kindness with warmth and gratitude, and for making my Christmas one I shall never forget...once more, thank you.”

Davis was released on bail after his court appearance and is due to be sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on February 8.