A MAN has slammed a gang of thieves after a garden bench was stolen from a 94-year-old's home in Romsey.

The bench was snatched from the pensioner's patio in Hillier Court, Botley Road, sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.

Now house manager at Hillier Court Retirement Living, Jeff Cox, has revealed the woman was "devastated someone had stooped that low" after discovering her bench had been stolen.

Jeff said: "When we are seeing so much good in the world and people are looking after the vulnerable and elderly community, it is a severe blow when someone decides to enter private property and steal a bench.

"The lady was devastated someone had stooped that low and it breeds fear and insecurity, which we are all working hard to change.

"This has not happened here before, because the level of crime in this area is low, so it comes as more of a shock when we hear about something that mean."

The 56-year-old has erected a sign in Hillier Court appealing to the thieves following the crime, which reads: "To whoever stole the double seater garden bench, belonging to a 94-year-old, I'm sure your grandparents are very proud of you.

"It's not too late; have a heart and return it and no questions will be asked."

Jeff added there is now a group of people who want to buy a replacement bench for the pensioner, which he suggested to her in a bid to resolve the problem.

He said: "I know the lady in question and she is very proud and independent; her words were 'what a lovely and caring gesture. It has restored my faith in humanity, which was dented by this'.

"She also told me 'there are much more deserving people than me who need help', so she is going to decline to offer.

"However, her son-in-law is working on getting a replacement bench for the lady."

A spokesperson from Hampshire police said: "We received a report that between 8pm on Sunday, May 17, and 7am on Monday, May 18, a garden bench had been stolen from a patio in Hillier Court, Botley Road, Romsey.

"Anyone with information can phone 101 and quote the reference 44200180331."