A much-loved member of the community in Banbury has vowed not to let the theft of wedding presents ruin the ‘best four weeks’ of his life.
Dave Earle, 51, who runs Spit ‘N’ Sawdust gym in North Bar, married his partner of 14 years, Joanne, on a boat in Turkey last month.
Two of his sons – Maxie, 22, and Marcus, 19 – were best men while Mrs Earle’s daughter, Rose, 21, was bridesmaid.
And just before their wedding Mr Earle got a telephone call from his eldest son, Mikey, 24, announcing the birth of his first grandson, Kahtai.
On return to Banbury, the couple celebrated with family and friends, some who had travelled hundreds of miles, at a reception at Bonitos Wine Bar, on White Lion Walk, on Saturday.
They received presents including cash, photographs and Thomas Cook vouchers, which were to be used to help pay for a trip to Jamaica for a family reunion at Christmas, and had arranged to return to the bar a couple of days later to pick up their presents.
But the trip to Jamaica may now have to be put on hold after the presents were stolen during a burglary at the bar on Sunday afternoon, which also saw a cash register and alcohol taken.
Amateur boxing champion and Olympic torchbearer Mr Earle, who helps people with drug and alcohol addiction, said: “It will be far more difficult to get to the reunion than it would have been, but I’ve had the best four weeks of my life so this is just a blip – it’s not the worst thing that has happened.
“We got married and we had the best time we could have had. I had a call from my son saying that my first grandson had come into the world. I can’t let this one incident tarnish all that. I feel more for the people who gave us the presents – it is a shame it had to be like this.”
A statement from Thames Valley Police said between around 3.30pm and 3.50pm on Sunday three offenders were seen entering and leaving Bonitos through a fire door, and walking to St Mary’s Churchyard.
The first offender is described as a white man, around 5ft6ins of a slim build, in his mid-thirties with short dark hair and possibly wearing jeans while the second offender was a white woman with dark hair in a ponytail, wearing a grey hooded top.
The third offender is a white man around 5ft10ins of a slim build, between 20 and 30 years old, with light brown untidy hair.
Investigating Officer PC Paul Froggatt from Banbury police station said: “We are appealing to anyone who may have heard or seen suspicious behaviour in the area at this time.
“This has caused great upset to the victims who have just celebrated their wedding day,and are unlikely to be able to replace wedding gifts from friends and relatives.
“If you have any information please get in contact via the Thames Valley Police 24-hour enquiry line 101.”
Anyone with information can also call the Crime Stoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555111.