Thieves may have marked out a target house with a bottle of milk before ransacking it in a cruel £4,000 daytime raid.
The culprits smashed their way in through a lounge window at the property in Dundee’s Mayfield Grove on Monday after failed attempts to force open a door to the house some time between 7.45am and 5pm.
Jewellery with sentimental value, including an engraved christening cup belonging to the family’s two-year-old son, was taken.
The victims, a couple in their 30s who did not wish to be named, say they have been left sad and angry by the theft.
The break-in was discovered by the female householder when she returned from work at around 5.30pm.
Her husband said: “My wife came through the garage and the first thing she saw were big muddy footprints.
“They had tried to get in through the utility, but didn’t manage that and then used an ornamental rabbit to smash the lounge window.
“They’ve done a real job on it, going into every room, including our son’s – who knows what they expected to find in a two-year-old’s bedroom.”
He revealed the milk bottle theory emerged by chance.
“A friend of my wife’s came round to offer her moral support and brought a full bottle of milk in from the front door, thinking it was ours and just hand’t been picked up.
“It was a glass bottle with a foil top, but we don’t get milk delivered and when we mentioned that to the police they said it may have been put there to indicate which house should be done.”
The family have connections to the Channel Islands and jewellery by the area’s well-known silversmith Bruce Russell was taken.
“It is quite distinctive jewellery and hallmarked from there and my wife also had a pair of earrings taken which were her grandmother’s so obviously they are also of sentimental value.
“They’ve also taken quite a lot of our son’s christening presents, including an engraved silver cup given to him by his grandparents and a keyring made with an imprint of his foot.
“Those are keepsakes that are important to us but maybe not of huge value for people trying to get rid of them.”
A white gold lady’s wedding ring with small diamonds, white gold lady’s engagement ring with a single diamond solitaire, a men’s plain gold band wedding ring and a pair of platinum earrings with a diamond solitaire on each of them were taken, estimated to total around £4,000.
The couple initially feared a family heirloom christening gown had also been stolen but fortunately the precious item had been discarded in the house.
“The police were great, the forensics couldn’t have been more thorough. You just have to deal with something like this but it’s obviously upsetting,” added the man.
He said it was the latest in a number of incidents in the quiet development, off Dundee’s Arbroath Road.
“The empty house next door was broken into last year and a car was stolen a couple of months ago, he said.