A WIDOWER in his eighties has spoken of his distress after the favourite seat of his late wife was stolen from his garden.

Grandfather-of-four John Kelly had just finished a painstaking refurbishment of the wrought iron bench in memory of Rose, his beloved wife of 60 years who died in 2012.

He had also ordered a plaque bearing her name, which was due to be delivered this weekend.

But within three days of returning the reconditioned bench to the side garden of his home, in Torre Road, near Buttershaw, Bradford, it was stolen overnight.

Mr Kelly, 84, a retired motor dealer, said he had used two motorcycle chains to secure the bench to two large stakes driven 2ft into the ground.

But he said the stakes had both been pulled up and the chains taken away with the bench.

He said: “There must have been two people to do it, to lift a seat out of the ground.”

Mr Kelly said the bench had wrought iron ends painted black and a wrought iron back painted white with red roses on.

He said it would “really stand out” and he hoped he could get it back.

“It was such a lovely piece of furniture in the garden,” he said.

“Once I had finished it, I put it in the garden, secured it to the ground with two bike chains, then it just went.

“It was only in the garden three days. I had just completely re-done it all, completely repaired it and even put new wood in.

“It was a showpiece.”

Mr Kelly said it was the third theft from his garden in recent months, as a table and chairs and a bird table had also been stolen.

He said: “I get fed up of it. You do stuff to improve things.

“Especially the garden seat, it was a favourite of my late wife’s. That has really affected me.

“They are lowlifes, some of these people. It starts off as petty crime, but if they can get away with it they will go onto something bigger.”

He said he “couldn’t understand how anybody can do things like that, when they know damn well it must have sentimental value”.

A police spokesman said anyone with information about the theft could either contact themselves or Crimestoppers.

He said: “Police are investigating the theft of a bench from a garden in Torre Road, Bradford, which is believed to have occurred between 8pm on April 11 and 8.45am on April 12.

“Enquiries have been carried out locally to identify possible suspects and anyone who can assist with this investigation is asked to contact the Bradford South Area Neighbourhood Team on 101, quoting crime reference 13170165369.

“Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”