Raiders battered a family dog with a walking stick before trashing the house and stealing a one-of-a-kind solid gold lion.
Black labrador Sam was heard barking by a neighbour at around the same time burglars went through a house in Thornton, turning a toddler’s bedroom upside down in the hunt for cash.
Furious Lee Gee, who branded the perpetrators ‘scumbags’, has now offered £500 reward for the return of the unique lion pendant, which was hand-crafted by his late grandfather and taken during the daylight raid on Wednesday.
The 43-year-old said: “After making sure the dog wasn’t dead it was the first thing I went to look for, and it was gone.
“I’m absolutely mortified.
“I’m a big lad and whoever did this is lucky they were not there when I got home.”
Lee, who runs Thornton Village Bargains in Alexandra Road, returned home to find his house ‘trashed’ after closing up shop shortly before 4pm on Wednesday.
He said eight-year-old pet Sam may have been attacked after trying to defend the family home, and has been left shaken by his ordeal.
Lee said: “He growls and barks when somebody tries to get in, so they have walloped him with a walking stick. He was cowering on his bed and won’t leave our side now. It’s not nice to think about what they must have done to him.
“His injuries are not severe but he slept on our bed for the first time last night and we have had him since he was a puppy.”
Lee, who has lived in Raikes Road with his partner Nicola Sorah, 32, and their son Oliver, two, for three years without any trouble, dialled 999 before cleaning up the mess – which took him four hours.
He said: “I sent the missus out with the baby, she was crying her eyes out.
“The whole place had been trashed. They emptied everything out the kitchen, the settees were chucked about, and my son’s bedroom was pulled apart. They ripped his bed up and chucked everything out of his drawers.
“They even stole his silver Christening presents.
“The police said they have not seen anything like this for years.
“They obviously thought, because I have a shop, that I have money.”
The ornamental lion, which Lee said is around the size of a thumb, was made by his grandfather Roy Gee, who was a jeweller.
Made from solid gold, it has red ruby eyes and, although there are similar items on the market, it’s unique.
Lee, who was given the lion two years ago by his 86-year-old grandmother, would wear it on Christmas Day while visiting her.
“She doesn’t know it has gone yet,” he said. “She will be devastated.
“It was hidden inside a kitchen cupboard but obviously they found it. They are scumbags, just scum.”
The family’s plight was shared on Facebook by Lee’s older son Daniel, who wrote: “The people who did it have ruined every room in the house.
“They battered my family dog and stole jewellery from not only my little brother but also my great-grandad.
“Whoever you are, and I mean whoever, you’ve made a massive mistake.
“You will pay, one way or another.”
The message was shared more than 1,600 times by Friday. One user, Jade Astor, said: “I hope you find the vile piece of scum, and I hope whoever you are, you read this and suffer.”
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said the break-in was reported at 3.50pm on Wednesday.
Anybody with information has been asked to call police on 101 quoting reference number 945 of March 2.