A teenage soldier had his war medal stolen from his home just weeks before he was due to wear it on his wedding day.
Private Andrew Betts, aged 19, of Woodrow, Redditch, courageously fought in Afghanistan for more than six months in 2007.
After nine of his comrades from the Mercian Regiment were killed in the line of duty, he dedicated his campaign medal to them and put it up on his bedroom wall alongside pictures of other brave soldiers who he had fought alongside.
Now thieves have stolen the treasured possession just days before he is due to tie the knot with 17-year-old girlfriend, Lucie Preston.
Pte Betts’s distraught mother, Jacqueline Bradshaw, said her son was absolutely devastated when he returned home from Ireland a few weeks ago to find the medal had gone.
“The thieves took nothing else – even though there were credit cards and cheque books lying around the house.
“We are so proud of Andrew for what he has achieved and all the obstacles he has overcome to get where he is today. The war medal meant everything to him.
“We just want it back so he can wear it at his wedding and put it back with his other things from Afghanistan.”
Pte Betts refused to believe the theft was deliberately targeting him because he was a soldier.
“Obviously I am very angry that my campaign medal has been stolen but I think the person who did it must have been desperate or thought the medal was worth something.
“In fact it is only really worth something to me.
“Medals to soldiers are very personal. We risk our lives and get shot at and the medal is there to represent what we have been through. I just want it back so I can wear it on my wedding day.”
With less than two weeks before Pt Betts gets married it now seems unlikely he will get a replacement medal in time for his big day. His only hope is that the thief returns it.
Grandmother, Lynda Griffiths, said: “The people who did this haven’t achieved half of the things my grandson has.
“He has seen and done things they will never experience and we are just disgusted that someone could do this.”
Anyone with information should contact Redditch police on 0845 444 888.