THIEVES have stolen boxes of irreplaceable mementos that belonged to a woman’s late parents.

Merrilyn Fitch, 61, arrived home from holiday to find thieves had ransacked her garage, in Latimer Drive, Basildon, and stolen childhood photos, her mother’s diaries and her father’s record collection.

Mrs Fitch said the things taken had little cash value and is appealing for anyone with information to contact the police.

She said: “I am an only child and losing my parents has been devastating.

To find all my mementos of them and all my childhood memories have been taken is so distressing.

“They have little cash value, even if you took them to a car boot sale. I suspect the person who took them has dumped them somewhere.

“If anyone spots them, or knows where they are, please get in touch.”

The stolen photographs are of Mrs Flitch’s childhood and include Christmases and birthdays. They are on transparency slides and can only be viewed on a special projector.

The slides were stored in leatherlook cases, which had been dated and labelled by Mrs Fitch’s dad, Stan. The stolen diaries belonged to her mum, Edie.

A number of them are week to view style, and Mrs Fitch believes some were given out by milkmen in the Seventies and Eighties.

Her dad’s records were “78s” – played at 78rpm, and in brown cardboard boxes.

Mrs Fitch said: “After everything we have been through over the past year, we were looking forward to our holiday. To come back to this is just so upsetting.

“I was storing the things in my garage until I had chance to sort through everything properly. I thought they would be safe there.

“My mum would be mortified to know someone had her diaries.”

The break-in happened between May 20 and May 25 and police believe the garage door was forced.

Anyone with information about the burglary, or the whereabouts of the stolen items, should contact detectives at Basildon CID on 101.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.