Locker thief steals treasured memories

A FAMILY'S day out to the swimming baths was ruined after all of their valuables were stolen.

Christopher Cowen, his wife Rebecca, nine-week-old son Chris and one-year-old daughter Emily, of Queens Road, Hastings, left their belongings securely in lockers at Bexhill Leisure Pool on Monday but returned later to find everything, save for their clothes, gone.

Among the stolen items was a mobile phone containing dozens of precious photos of their children, as well as cash, passports, house keys, wedding ring and jewellery.

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Mr Cowen, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, nearly fainted because of the stress caused.

He said: "There were loads of photographs of Emily on my mobile phone which were taken when she first started talking.

"They are precious and are irreplaceable.

"It was also my baby boy's first family outing.

"The manager at the pool gave me 20 for a taxi ride home as our bus ticket was among the things stolen.

"All of our clothes, including our babies' clothes, were strewn across the floor."

Mr Cowen claimed he had heard reports of a man 'skulking around' the changing rooms and said two other women had also lost their valuables in the same manner.

Inspector James Scott, of Bexhill Police, said three lockers were broken into on Monday lunchtime in which stolen items included wallets and purses, mobile phones and other electrical items.

Police said the suspect was white, aged between 30 and 40, had olive skin and blue eyes.

He was stockily built and around 5ft 6ins tall.

At the time he was wearing a navy blue T-shirt and three-quarter length denim shorts, white trainers and a black cap.

Police are now urging anyone who notices anyone suspicious around locker rooms to inform staff immediately.

Meanwhile officers are checking CCTV footage for further clues.

A spokesperson from Freedom Leisure said: "We understand that the police are investigating this occurrence thoroughly and we will be cooperating fully with any queries that they have."