A jeweller who was forced to shut down his shop because of repeated raids has died just weeks before its closure.
The family of Geoff Bolton believe the stress of the robberies may have contributed to the heart attack which killed him at the age of 90.
Mr Bolton worked at the same Guiseley premises for 74 years after starting there as an apprentice in 1938. And he was still working on the day before he died of a heart attack The decision to close the shop – NG Bolton - was taken by Mr Bolton and his son Robert after a catalogue of raids. In a total of 23 attacks staff had been threatened with sawn-off shotguns, and windows were smashed with lump hammers and pick-axes.
The final straw came after the theft of jewellery from Robert Bolton’s car while his father was a passenger.
“My dad was actually involved in the last one on August 24 when this bag was taken which had a lot of irreplaceable jewellery,” Robert said.
“He was doing quite nicely really until then. It was not my decision alone to close the business – it was something we discussed at length, him and me.”
He said although there was no way of knowing for sure, he felt the stress of the thefts could have contributed to his father’s death.
“I think it was a combination of factors,” he said. “He was really shaken by the incident itself, but there was also the trauma because of the effect it had on the business. When you have committed 70-odd years of your life to something which is seriously affected by incidents like that it has a dreadful effect. It is bound to take its toll.”
“He had a problem at his house when they had filled his alarm box with foam and cut the telephone lines. We felt the ante was being upped all the time.”
He added: “What killed him was a heart attack, and heart problems and heart disease can be influenced by stress. He had been through a very stressful period.
“I am not saying that is definitely what caused his death but I am sure it contributed to it.”
Mr Bolton’s funeral was due to take place at Guiseley Methodist Church on Wednesday, January 9.
The shop will close on February 2, although valuation work will continue.