‘Christmas cancelled’ after thieves break into car in Sidmouth

Manor Road Car Park

Manor Road Car Park - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth dad hopes he can be reunited with irreplaceable family photos after thieves broke into his car and stole his wallet and house keys.

Paul Couldwell said ‘Christmas is cancelled’ after he paid out £600 to change the locks in the middle of the night on Saturday (December 2) to keep his family safe.

The crooks bought a takeaway on his contactless debit card before he could cancel it and he hopes the police can use fingerprints on the receipt or CCTV to catch them.

Mr Couldwell, whose car was parked in the Manor Road car park, said: “There were pictures in my wallet that aren’t backed up, of my little boy and my wife when we first got together. I had a letter from our first Christmas together. They’re valuable things. I have already resigned myself that they have been dumped but if they were found would be great to have them back.”

Mr Couldwell went to his car at 9.45pm on Saturday and saw his house keys and wallet were missing, but initially thought he had left them behind. When he realised that was wrong – and that the thieves could learn his address from his driving licence – he left work and rushed home to his wife and sons, aged three and 14.

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“I didn’t know what time my keys were stolen or if someone could have got in,” added Mr Couldwell. “My wife was sleeping but my eldest son was still awake.

“Hopefully the insurance will cover it but we had to pay £600 for the locks. It’s cancelled our Christmas. We were going to buy presents on Wednesday. It’s the only time before payday we can go together. It’s put a big dampener on it.

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“You don’t expect it in Sidmouth. It’s one of the safest places around.”

He checked his bank account and found the thieves had made transactions totalling more than £50. One was for a takeaway – where staff remember five youths asking for a receipt and then throwing it on the floor.

He added: “Police are dealing with now. They’ll have the CCTV by the end of the week and fingerprints from the receipt.”

Mr Couldwell believes the break-in took place between 7pm and 10pm. He hopes his black Armani wallet has been dumped somewhere and that someone has found it.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101 and quote crime reference CR/104838/17.

Email stephen.sumner@archant.co.uk if you have found the wallet.

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