A CHARITY shop worker has hit out at a “callous” thief who stole war medals belonging to her husband’s grandfather from a D-Day commemoration display.

Janice Collinson, manager of the YMCA store in Bishop Auckland, created a mini-exhibition featuring artefacts from the First and Second World Wars to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings on Friday, June 6.

But yesterday afternoon (Saturday), she was horrified to discover that two First World War medals, belonging to her husband, Malcolm, had been stolen.

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The medals, like the rest of the items on display in the window of the Newgate Street store, were not for sale and were of great sentimental value, having been awarded to Mr Collinson’s grandfather, Joshua Collinson.

They comprised a Victory Medal and a British War Medal with ribbons.

Unfortunately, the couple do not have any photographs of the stolen items but each medal can be identified by the engraving ‘J.Collinson.’

Mrs Collinson, 58, of Barnard Castle, said: “It is shocking and very callous. Not only have they stolen war medals but they have stolen them from a charity shop.

“The display was right next to the till and we kept a close eye on it all day. The girl only turned her back for a few seconds to pick up some trousers off the floor and that is when it happened.”

Born in Middleton-in-Teesdale in 1892, Joshua Collinson was in his mid twenties when he joined the Royal Scots Regiment in 1916.

He went on to serve in the Battle of the Somme and at Passchendaele in Belgium.

After the war, he went back to his former livelihood, farming, in Witton-le-Wear, near Bishop Auckland, and later at Dalton Grange Farm in Dalton, near Richmond.

He died in 1982 at the age of 90.

His grandson, Malcolm Collinson, 63, a former farmer who now runs a furniture removal business, said: “I was close to my grandfather. He gave me the medals in around 1976 and I am very upset they have been stolen.

“If anyone comes across them or is offered them for sale please contact the police.”

Anyone with information about the theft, which occurred between 1.10pm and 1.30pm, is asked to contact PC Shaun McCarroll, of Bishop Auckland Police, on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.