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Gravesend soldier Grant Hatcher’s delight as stolen war medals found in handbag in Christian Fields Avenue

A young Army veteran from Gravesend is "over the moon" after a stranger returned his stolen medals... found in a handbag.

The two medals and veterans' pin belonging to Grant Hatcher, 26, were found in a back garden not far from his flat in Christian Fields Avenue.

The former trooper in the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment had his flat broken into on July 16. The medals were taken along with items including an iPad, PlayStation and camera.

Grant Hatcher and Charlotte Howell by the kicked-in door

It was the theft of his Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal, Afghanistan conflict medal – engraved with his name and Army number – and his veteran's pin that hurt the most.

But the precious accolades were returned by John Jarvis within days of our article being published.

They were handed back to Mr Hatcher after Mr Jarvis's girlfriend, Luka Hanmore, read the story.

Mr Hatcher had given up hope of seeing them again.

"I thought I was never going to see my medals again, so I was over the moon when I got them back..." - war veteran Grant Hatcher

He said: "I thought I was never going to see my medals again, so I was over the moon when I got them back. I've spoken to the police and they've taken them down for forensics.

"I’ve not actually checked over the medals myself yet."

Ms Hanmore, 21, of Codrington Crescent, Gravesend, explained how her partner came across the medals.

She said: "One of my boyfriend's close mates had a cement mixer stolen from work and my boyfriend had a tip-off to its whereabouts.

"It was in someone's back garden near to where Grant lived. The cement mixer was there and next to it was a handbag.

"My boyfriend's friend also had an iPad stolen so he checked the handbag to see if it was in there. There was some rubbish – and these medals."

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