A terminally-ill former army major has been left terrified to return home after burglars stole his medals while he was in hospital.

Grandfather James Coffey, 72, suffers from an aggressive form of prostate cancer and was undergoing treatment when callous thieves broke into his house.

They ransacked his bungalow, taking James' Northern Ireland General Service Medal, his Golden Jubilee medal and his Long Service Good Conduct Medal.

Son, Stuart said his dad won't return to his home in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, because he doesn't feel safe and instead now wants to go into a nursing home.

Stuart, 47, said: "He doesn't want to come back and live here now. He wants to go into a nursing home.

"He doesn't feel safe coming back here. It doesn't feel like a home anymore.

"He spent his whole life defending his country and then someone does this."

Witney Gazette:

James joined the army at 17, starting with the Royal Signals and from 1965 to 1974 he served in an elite Signals unit attached to the Parachute Regiment.

He did tours in Northern Ireland, also serving in Hong Kong and Germany, and racked up almost five decades' service.

In May 2017, his long-term partner, Janet, died after a battle with motor neurone disease and three months later James was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

The grandfather-of-six has spent the past three weeks in Great Western Hospital in Swindon, which is where he was when the burglars broke in.

Stuart continued: "The army was his life. He's now not able to pass all of that onto his grandchildren. That's the most upsetting thing for him."

The first the family knew of the burglary was when they went round to get some of his dad's things on Thursday, September 26, to take to the hospital.

James' car, a dark blue Volvo S60, was missing from the drive and inside, the thieves had focussed on the man's bedroom.

They stole irreplaceable items including his late wife's jewellery, including a wedding ring inscribed with the date 31/12/1976.

They also took military mementos like cufflinks and buttons given to him to commemorate service, and his medals.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman appealed for witnesses to come forward: "The force is carrying out a number of enquiries, including house to house, forensic examinations, and reviewing CCTV."