A GRIEVING widow has been left heartbroken after callous thieves stole irreplaceable memories of her dead husband.
Debra Ashcroft, 45, has made a desperate plea for the return of a memory box, which contained her engagement ring, cruelly taken in an evening raid on her home.
Mrs Ashcroft discovered her car and expensive computer equipment had also been stolen - but it was the theft of the keepsake from her ransacked bedroom which left her reeling.
She kept the treasured items in tribute to husband Troy, 43, who died suddenly after collapsing at work earlier this year.
The widow told the Free Press that the burglary, which came just seven months after Mr Ashcroft’s death, has been another huge blow as she faces with life without her husband of 18 years.
Describing the moment she realised the box had been stolen Mrs Ashcroft said: “My heart just sank.
“I looked to my bedside drawers and saw an empty space. That’s when I realised it had gone.
“They could have taken anything - but not my memory box.
“It included dog tags and leather gloves which he wore, as well as letters people wrote to me when Troy died.
“Words can’t explain how much these things mean to me.
“The box is something that I can’t replace.”
Mrs Ashcroft, of Westongales Way, Bentley, had been enjoying an evening at a neighbour’s house, along with 15-year-old daughter Lauren, A Don Valley School pupil, when the attack took place.
But she and her friends Craig and Keeley Theaker were left totally unaware of the raid by the sneaky thieves.
Mrs Ashcroft said: “We didn’t notice or hear a thing.
“I went home about 10pm and was fuming when I saw my car had gone.
“I told Craig who went round and saw they had smashed their way through my conservatory.
“The living room was immaculate - it looked like nobody had been in.
“But then I went to my bedroom and saw it had been ransacked with my clothes all over the floor.”
Mr Ashcroft, a deputy manager at The Range furniture store, died from brain damage in February after collapsing due to long-standing heart problems.
He had suffered from a irregular heartbeat since he was a child and needed a heart valve operation two years ago.
His wife, a customer services advisor at Argos, is begging residents across Doncaster for their help in returning the treasured memorabilia.
She said: “There are many sentimental bits and bobs which have gone.
“But I especially want the box itself back because it had Troy’s name engraved.
“I just hope somebody can help return it.”
Police confirmed the burglary had been reported to officers around 10.20pm on Saturday, September 3.
Mrs Ashcroft’s Peugeot 207 car was later found dumped in Riviera Mount, Bentley.
A force spokesman added: “There has not been any arrests and police are continuing to investigate.”