A PENSIONER has been left devastated after treasured sentimental items - including a lock of his late son's hair - were stolen. 

Brian Grimshaw, aged 81, was in his back garden when two men raided his home in Dudley Avenue, Whitefield.

The duo stole a safe containing items including and a ticket stub from a family holiday ­30 years ago - shortly before his son died of cancer at the age of eight. 

“I never thought something like this would happen," said Mr Grimshaw. "Those items meant a lot to me."

The thieves also stole a gold ingot bought for Mr Grimshaw by his late wife Jean, who died 27 years ago, and four gold necklaces, a gold watch and seven gold rings.

£600 in cash, which the pensioner had been saving up for a new washing machine, was also taken, along with some foreign currency.

The thieves ransacked the property at about 12.30pm on Wednesday, May 22. However, Mr Grimshaw only realised what had happened when he returned indoors for his lunch and discovered his bedroom had been “trashed”.

Mr Grimshaw said: “I was only outside for 15 to 20 minutes, I did not see or hear them.

“I came in to have my dinner, and went in the bedroom for something and found it all trashed.

“The wardrobe was open and stuff was all over the floor. I just though ‘oh no’.”

Mr Grimshaw says the safe had been screwed inside a wardrobe, with the thieves having smashed the door in order to steal it.

As well as tickets from a family holiday to Spain - shortly before Mr Grimshaw’s son Gordon tragically died at the age of eight - a lock of the youngster's hair was also kept in the stolen safe.

“The doctors told him he was dying and there was no cure for it," explained Mr Grimshaw.

"He said he wanted to fly before he died so we took him to Spain."

“It was fabulous. He really enjoyed it, which is why I kept the tickets in a plastic wallet in the safe along with a lock of his hair.”

Mr Grimshaw, who worked as a forklift truck driver at the East Lancashire Paper Mill in Radcliffe, as well as a bin man for Bury Council, said the recent incident has made him “wary” and fearful of being targeted again.

“It has made me feel insecure in my own home. I will never keep more than £10 in here again.

“The jewellery and the ring on my finger were all I had left of my wife.”

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "The offenders wore all black at the time of the incident and are believed to have been wearing baseball hats. One is further described as being short and of a larger build.

"The victim was in the garden at the time of the incident but thankfully wasn’t injured.

"Information can be given to police by calling 0161 856 8172 quoting incident number 1171 of 22/05/19.

"Alternatively, information can be passed on to the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."