‘DESPICABLE’ thieves have broken into the house of Beaminster Tunnel landslide victim Rosemary Snell and stolen valuable heirlooms.

Police are now appealing for the public’s help to catch the criminals.

Mrs Snell and her friend Michael Rolfe died when their car was buried in a landslide near the Beaminster Tunnel.

They lay unnoticed under tonnes of debris for 10 days before being discovered.

Since the tragedy floral tributes have been left at April Cottage, Mrs Snell’s home in Misterton.

But over the weekend someone forced entry to the rear of her property and made off with silver items some of which could be antiques, say police.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Warren said: “This is a despicable crime that has been committed by someone who may have deliberately targeted the property following the national media coverage.

“The offenders forced entry at the rear of the property and took specific items that are of antique value.

“I would urge anyone who may know anything about this incident to come forward and contact us.

“I would also ask members of the public to remain vigilant and report any sale of antique silver items to us.”

The police have increased patrols in the area and are asking the community to report anyone acting suspiciously.

Dorset County councillor Rebecca Knox said: “It is just so awful to play on the tragedy of the poor lady and her family. I just can’t believe people would do that.

“Robbery is bad anyway but to take advantage of a tragic occurrence like this, I don’t believe it.

“It is such a private time for people and to be thrown open to yet again more public interest at this time for exactly the wrong reasons, it is the time for sympathy and thought and not to be reminded again of something for that reason.

“It is a horrible personal intrusion.”

Ms Snell and Michael Rolfe were returning home to Somerset on Friday, July 7 when their car was crushed by a landslide at the Beaminster Tunnel.

They had been for a meal at the Bridge House Hotel in Beaminster shortly beforehand.

Mark Donovan, owner of the Bridge House Hotel, added: “It is a thoroughly despicable act by people who obviously have no morals and no compassion.

“It is the worst sort of reflection on humanity.”

Anyone who can help the police is asked to call Yeovil CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.