Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 11:59 UK

Colditz veteran burgled at home

Richard Edgecombe
Richard Edgecombe moved into his retirement home in Llanwit Major last year

A World War II prisoner of war who was held at Colditz in Germany, has been burgled at his retirement home.

Richard Edgecombe, 89, was at a family barbecue when the thief broke into his sheltered housing complex in the Vale of Glamorgan and made off with £100.

Mr Edgecombe, who was a prisoner of war for three years, had set the money aside to pay his rent.

Police appealed for witnesses and said the burglary was a "particularly unpleasant offence".

I'm living in fear that whoever did this might come back
Richard Edgecombe

Mr Edgecombe, who was born in Cardiff, was captured at the siege of Tobruk in Libya in north Africa in 1941 and taken to a prisoner of war camp in Italy.

He managed to escape but was recaptured by German paratroopers and taken to Colditz for a short period.

He later spent 18 months in a prisoner of war camp in Dresden and was put to work on building roads.

During an RAF bombing raid he escaped again, returning to Wales in 1944 before working as a lorry driver.

He and wife Ethel-May had four children and lived in Ely, Cardiff. He moved to a quiet close in Llantwit Major, last year after her death.

Richard Edgecombe
Richard Edgecombe as a 21-year-old in the Army

The burglary occurred at some point on Sunday afternoon when Mr Edgecombe was with his family.

He said: "I did feel safe and comfortable here, but now I'm not so sure. I'm living in fear that whoever did this might come back.

"This is a quiet place but it shows that nowhere is safe from crime."

His daughter Sonia Warren, 62, said: "We thought dad was really safe here - it is horrible to think someone has been into his home.

"The shock and upset of this is all a bit much for him."

Neighbourhood beat manager, Pc Colin Malone said: "This is a particularly unpleasant offence and we will make every effort to bring the perpetrator to justice.

"We would like to speak to a young family who were seen walking past the property on Crawshay Drive at around 4.30pm with a small child and another in a pushchair.

"They may have seen something or someone in the area which may help us with our inquiries."

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