Family’s heartbreak over stolen dolls’ house

Sisters Emily, 16, and Elena, eight, are asking whoever stole their treasured dolls' house to bring it back
Sisters Emily, 16, and Elena, eight, are asking whoever stole their treasured dolls' house to bring it back
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A family were left ‘heartbroken’ after thieves stole a dolls’ house made for their daughter by her late grandad.

The handcrafted wooden toy was taken from Neil and Joanne Hartley’s back garden in Preston Road, Grimsargh.

Police said the couple’s home was one of six targeted by crooks thought to have climbed over fences from Grimsargh Reservoir.

Mrs Hartley said the dolls’ house was made by her father Barry Davis, from Longridge, who died last year, aged 67.

She said it was given to Emily Hartley, now 16, around 10 years ago, before she handed it down to her eight-year-old sister, Elena.

Mrs Hartley, 47, said: “My dad died tragically and in great pain. It broke my heart and also the hearts of many of my family.

“He spent many months making that dolls’ house for my eldest daughter and now it is enjoyed by my youngest.

“He was in the Merchant Navy so when he came home on leave he would work on it in the garage. I watched him build it, choose the lights, wallpaper, art and furniture.

“It was delivered, some years ago, by Father Christmas and brought great joy.

“It is something I had hoped would be passed through generations. I cannot describe the sense of loss I feel.”

The dolls’ house was taken from a summerhouse in the garden between noon and 4pm on Wednesday, July 10.

Mr Hartley, 50, said: “Elena was actually playing with it the day before. She is terribly upset. So is her sister. It would have been like a heirloom.

“We found the chimney pot of the dolls’ house down by the stream, along with a couple of items of house furniture and some of the dolls.”

The three-storey wooden dolls’ house was around a metre and a half wide, in a Georgian style, with a tiled roof.

Mrs Hartley said: “I just want it back, in any condition. Judging by the scattered pieces in our garden it won’t be in great shape, but I don’t care.

“Whoever has done this has not just taken a piece of our hearts but made us feel insecure in our own home.”

Police said the series of incidents began the day before, when a Kindle e-reader left on a garden table was stolen.

Thieves broke into three sheds in the garden of another home in the same road between 7pm on July 10 and 6.30am on July 11. They stole a power washer, carpet cleaner, gazebo and two camping chairs.

Officer said tools were also stolen when a garage was broken into at another house that night, and an attempted break-in was reported at a further home.

Another family reported that somebody had tried to take the roof off their shed.

PC Chris Banks, Community Beat Manager for the Grimsargh area, said: “We are aware that recently there has been a spike of thefts in Preston Road and as a result we have increased patrols in the area.

“I would like to reassure people that an investigation is underway into each of the offences to trace the person, or people, responsible, and I would urge people in the area to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity at all to us.”

If you have any information about the incidents call police on 101.