A Falklands war veteran has been reunited with his medals after they were stolen 15 years ago.
Anthony Paterson, 57, from Jarrow, County Durham, who served in the Royal Navy for 24 years, has been reunited with his well deserved medals after his wife spotted them for sale online.
Anthony Paterson's wife, Lorraine spotted the sentimental relics for sale on a medal website three months ago.
She contacted the police to report her findings after her husband was left heartbroken when his South Atlantic Medal and 2002 Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal had been stolen while he was on holiday.
Northumbria Police located the business selling the medal before asking their counterparts at the Metropolitan Police to seize them.
Officers have now visited the veteran at his home and reunite him with his medals, on July 20
Mr Paterson said: 'It was the best birthday present - a wonderful end to a long story.
'Over the years, I lost hope that I'd ever get them back - so this was an incredible surprise and I'm really grateful to the police who were able to bring them home to me.'
The war veteran had come close to finding the medals ten years ago after his friend saw them in a pawnbrokers in Guisborough.
Seeing that they were inscribed with Mr Paterson's name, his close friend assumed he had decided to sell them.
The veteran continued: 'But when I travelled down the next day, the shop said they'd sold them only a couple of days earlier to a private collector, and it was going to be almost impossible to trace them.
'I felt that pain all over again, having come so close to getting my hands on them. In the years since, I've sporadically checked online on medal websites to see if they'd materialise again, but to no avail.'
However when Lorraine Paterson searched online for 'Falklands medals for sale' she found the stolen medals on a London-based medal selling website.
Mr Paterson joined the Royal Navy at the age of 16 and served on HMS Brilliant during the Falklands War in 1982.
He then went on to serve on various ships including HMS Euryalus and HMS Illustrious - where he travelled to the Far East in 1997 to oversee the handover of Hong Kong to China.
After 24 years service, Mr Patterson left the Navy in 2004 as a Chief Petty Officer.
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