A FORMER soldier has appealed for the safe return of his irreplaceable military medals after his house was burgled.

Andrew Barnes has offered a reward for information on the whereabouts of the medals, which were taken from his house in Lawrence Street, Darlington, in the early hours of Monday. A number of other items were taken, including a television and his daughter's scooter.

However, Mr Barnes, who was in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers for 22 years, and rose to the rank of staff sergeant, is particularly concerned about the loss of his medals.

They were earned over the course of his career and include a Jubilee medal, a Gulf medal with campaign clasp, and Bosnia and long service medals.

Speaking for her brother, Maxine Barnes said: "Some of the medals have his name on, so they are no use to anybody.

"They can't be replaced. He can get new ones, but they won't have his name on."

Ms Barnes said her brother was prepared to offer a reward for information that would help with the medals' return.

Inspector Alan Watson, of Darlington Police, said: "We'd like to hear from anyone who knows anything about this burglary, particularly where the medals are.

"We'd to like hear from any shops that might have been offered them or anyone who has any knowledge that might lead to an arrest."

Anyone with information can call The Northern Echo on (01325) 5050573, the police on 0845 60 60 365, or Crime-stoppers on 0800 555 111.