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12 May 2015, 17:17 | Updated: 12 May 2015, 17:27
A remorseful thief who stole a bird bath has left a note for his victim saying he is sorry and explaining he needed a gift for his mother's birthday.
Police were called to an 82-year-old widow's home in Hawkshead Court, Newcastle, last month after she reported the large garden ornament had been taken overnight.
The offender has returned to the scene of the crime to leave a scrawled apology on a scrap of cardboard, saying he will make up for the theft when he can.
He wrote: ``I am so very sorry. I wouldn't in a million years have done this but I had to.
``It is my mother's birthday and I am in a very bad place. I can't afford a birthday present and she doesn't know how bad it is.
``With deep regrets, sorry. This is all I can think of I am so very sorry. When I can afford it I will replace it.''
Pc Christopher Dorman has urged the person responsible to get in touch after the theft of the victim's ``pride and joy''. It was bought for her by her late husband.
He said: ``It is clear that the offender feels guilty about his actions and I would urge him to come forward and contact police so we can reunite the bird bath with its owner.
``Similarly, if you have recently received a birthday present that matches the description of the bird bath taken from this vulnerable victim's garden then please get in touch.''
The elderly victim said: ``I loved watching the antics of the birds in my bird bath and the birds are missing it too.
``Yesterday a pair of collared doves who are daily visitors just sat on the fence facing the empty spot for over an hour.
``I can understand that this man's appreciation of his mother makes him feel it is so important to give her a birthday present.
``What he doesn't understand is the shock and deep disappointment she would feel if she knew that he has become a thief in his desire to please her.
``Her love for him will be strong enough that she will forgive him but her disappointment in his action will never be forgotten.
``If only he had admitted his helplessness to his mother, she of all people would understand and she and he and myself would all be happier people today.
``Lack of communication is the cause of so much unhappiness and it is so easily avoidable.
``I will have problems finding a replacement to match up with the existing situation since the missing bird bath was bought 25 years ago by my husband who is now deceased.
``We were married for 53 years. A new bird bath won't ever replace it.''
The birdbath is described as three foot tall, stone in a Pompeii ash colour.
There is also an acanthus leaf pattern up the stem.
Anyone who may have been in the area at the time or have information to help is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 0221 15/04/15 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.