Published: 00:01, 27 July 2014
A young Army veteran who fought on the frontline in Afghanistan has had his medals stolen from his flat.
Grant Hatcher, 26, of Christian Fields Avenue, Gravesend, also had a laptop, iPad, PlayStation and camera taken in the burglary.
Mr Hatcher served as a trooper with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment before retiring from the service. He now works in London as a security worker.
He said: “At first it was more that you don’t expect it to happen to you.
“It didn’t feel like it had happened, it took almost a day to sink in. The moment I realised my medals were gone was really hard.
“I was angry that it happened to me and just disappointed that my medals were gone.”
The three medals that were taken were a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, an Afghanistan conflict medal engraved with his name and Army number and his Veteran’s Pin.
One of them was found shortly after the burglary in an alleyway, but there has been no sign of the others.
Mr Hatcher went into the Army straight from school and undertook one of his two tours of Afghanistan at just 18.
He kept the medal with a lot of other keepsakes from his Army days, including his beret and photos.
One day he hoped to pass them on to his children. He said: “I was involved in a combat role out there so I was on the frontline.”
Mr Hatcher said the medals were important because they represented his time in the service.
He said: “Unless you do something massive where you get a Victoria Cross or something you don’t really get much of a ‘well done’; it’s a case of ‘here’s your pay and thanks for your time’.
“You want to keep these things so that when you do have kids it’s something you can pass on. They’re keepsakes of your time and what you did with it.”
Mr Hatcher, who comes from a military background with both his older brother and father both having served in the Army, said he was not optimistic he will see his treasured mementoes again.
He said: “To be honest I’m not holding out much hope because as soon as they realise they’re worth nothing they’re going to throw them. That’s my belief anyway.
"They’re not valuable but they’re my medals that I’ve earned and now someone’s taken them.”
“Considering what he’s done for the country it’s terrible that these scumbags then come and take his medals" - Charlotte Howell
His girlfriend Charlotte Howell, 24, said: “Considering what he’s done for the country it’s terrible that these scumbags then come and take his medals.
“Electrical stuff can be replaced but the original medals are irreplaceable.”
Mr Hatcher, who has lived at his home for two years, will now contact his regiment to see if they can replace them, otherwise he will have to pay for them out of his own pocket.
The couple are not sure why the flat was targeted.
Miss Howell said: “He’s got quite a nice car so maybe they thought ‘he’s got a bit of money’. I just think it’s someone who has taken a chance.”
Police said officers were investigating the burglary, which took place between 7.20pm and 9.45pm on Wednesday, July 16, and they urged people with information to call 101 and quote crime reference number XY/25173/14.
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