A pensioner has spoken of his wife’s devastation after she discovered her mum’s ashes were stolen from the family car over the weekend.
Sussex Police said two women were seen trying a number of car door handles in Nyetimber Crescent, Bognor, in the early hours of Sunday.
Carol and Richard Cooke’s car was targeted and a number of items were stolen, including the ashes of Carol’s mum Betty Albuery.
Richard, 72, said: “I was shocked but my wife Carol was absolutely devastated. She was really shook by it. She said it made her more upset than she was at the funeral service in March.
"We were at home at the time [of the theft] but didn't realise until the next morning when we saw the car door was ajar.
"All the contents of the glove box were stolen. Everything of any value was taken, including prescription sunglasses. My disabled parking badge, a medical prescription, scarves, and an umbrella were also gone. We won't get any of that back but we only cared about the ashes."
Much to Richard and Carol’s relief, the ashes were later found discarded nearby.
Richard added: “Carol is now more like her old self. We are both so pleased.”
Sussex Police superintendent Julia Pope said: “We were saddened to hear of the circumstances as told by the victim and can only begin to understand the distress this may have caused.
“We are following up a number of lines of enquiry [and] we will do all we can to trace the offender and bring them to justice.”
Police have released CCTV images and would like to speak to the woman pictured.
Investigations and resolution centre supervisor Justin Norman said: “I would urge anyone with any information to get in touch.”
Police confirmed a 27-year-old woman from Bognor was arrested on suspicion of theft from the vehicle but she has since been released without charge.
Enquiries are continuing and anyone with any information is asked to report it online or call 101, quoting serial 1163 of 02/06.