Thieves swiped medals and ransacked the home of a Blackpool war veteran just hours after his death.
Investigating officers believe opportunist criminals may have lain in wait for ambulance crews and undertakers to leave before smashing their way into the house of 78-year-old Glen Yates.
Police were called to the house in Hudson Road at around 9.45am on Tuesday following concerns over the safety of the elderly resident. On arrival officers found the body of Mr Yates
Less than 24 hours later police were called to the same property following reports of a burglary
Raiders are believes to have smashed their way into the house at some time between 1pm on Tuesday and 10.45am on Wednesday.
Investigating officers believe the thieves broke in through a window at the rear of the property after seeing police, ambulance staff and undertakers at the scene.
Several items are missing from the house, including two army service medals, which Mr Yates earned serving in Malaysia.
He had been presented with these only a few years ago at Fulwood Barracks.
His wedding ring is also missing, as well as a quantity of his late wife’s costume jewellery. Between £600 and £700 was been taken.
PC Daniel Swarbrick, of Blackpool Police, said: “Mr Yates’ family are obviously grieving the loss of a beloved father and grandfather, but they have been dealt a double blow knowing his house has since been targeted by thieves.
“Several items of great sentimental value to the family have gone missing and they are desperate to get them back.
“We believe the people who carried out this burglary may have suspected the property was empty after seeing emergency services at the scene following Mr Yates’ death.
“We would now urge anybody with information about it to contact us as soon as possible. Maybe you were in the area and saw something suspicious, perhaps you’ve heard somebody talking about it since, or maybe you’ve been offered some of the stolen items for sale. Whatever you know, we would like to hear from you.”
There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Yates' death.
Anybody with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting log number 383 of January 25. Alternatively independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org.