Wales

Port Talbot men steal vicar's jewellery and feed his dog glass

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Media captionRev Owen described the break-in as "devastating"

A vicar has described how his 70th birthday was ruined when men burgled his house and fed his dog glass.

Reverend Philip Owen was out when the men targeted his house in May - stealing "irreplaceable" jewellery.

They got away with £55,000 of gems he was going to give to his grandchildren in a burglary he described as "heartbreaking".

Three Port Talbot men were sentenced at Swansea Crown Court for breaking and entering, burglary and theft.

Keiran Bunce, 19 and Marcus Thomas, 30, admitted the charges and got two years and eight months and four years and six months.

Leon Rowlands, 20, was found guilty after trial and given 18 months.

"It was a big day but it was absolutely ruined," Rev Owen said, referring to his birthday.

"My grandchildren came down and were traumatised with the mess that was here and the state their grandmother was in.

"The dog was badly beaten. It was terrible."

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Keiran Bunce, Marcus Thomas and Leon Rowlands have been jailed

He described how the burglars had taken glass from the window they had smashed to get in and put it in meat they had got from the fridge.

They then gave it to Rev Owen's dog Rusty, as well as beating him on the back legs and ribs.

Luckily, a vet later found he had not ingested any glass and he has now made a full recovery.

Rev Owen, from Taibach, Neath Port Talbot, said the burglars had started ransacking the house, but when they found a safe, focused on that.

"One piece (of jewellery) was 100 years old, most is irreplaceable," he said.

"The stones were more valuable than the gold of the rings.

"There were pink emeralds, orange sapphires, completely irreplaceable."

Image caption Some of the jewellery had been in Rev Owen's family for generations

He said the sentimental value was greater than the monetary value to him, adding: "I feel I have let the family down by allowing them to be stolen.

"The memories are gone."

Judge Geraint Thomas called Thomas a "career criminal" and said the defendants could show remorse by telling the victim where the stolen jewellery was.

He asked "what Fagin-type character" they had passed it on to, but they refused to answer.

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