Jewel thieves stole a grieving widower's treasured momentoes of his dead wife, police have revealed.

Police at Lyndhurst are appealing for information after the theft of jewellery from a bungalow in the New Forest.

Burglars forced open a kitchen door and made an untidy search of the house in Wavendon Avenue, Barton on Sea.

The owner, a recently widowed 61-year-old man, was away at the time.

Items taken include a smoky quartz heart pendant on a gold chain, a small gold-framed picture with a lock of hair in the back, a flower-shaped yellow gold opal brooch, a yellow gold fire opal and diamond ring, a short string of fresh water pearls and a little-worn man’s Galaxy watch with a leather strap.

Also taken were seven women’s rings, including three gold wedding bands, one with a hashed pattern; a gold solitaire diamond engagement ring and a gold diamond and sapphire eternity ring.

Men’s rings included a gold wedding band, a gold tiger’s eye ring and a gold signet ring, engraved with the letters GS.

Police want to hear from anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area on Saturday and Sunday.

They also would like to hear from a woman who was seen between 8 and 9pm February 6  to  8 in the Wavendon Avenue area. She was looking at houses and writing in a notebook.

Police Staff Investigator Gerald Larcombe appealed for information from the public.

“This crime was a particularly cruel blow to a man who was bereaved very recently.

"Many of the stolen items belonged to his late wife and are of particular sentimental value.

“We would encourage anyone with information about the burglary or anyone who is offered jewellery similar to the stolen items to contact police immediately,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Lyndhurst CID on 101or the anonymous Crimestoppers charity line on 0800 555 111.