A Falklands War veteran has been reunited with his military medals 15 years after they were stolen.
Anthony Paterson was on holiday in 2005 when his South Atlantic Medal - awarded for his service in the Falklands War - and his 2002 Queen's Jubilee Medal, were stolen from a house in South Shields, Tyneside.
Mr Paterson, who served in the Royal Navy for 24 years, said he had "lost hope" of finding the medals until earlier this year, when his wife spotted them for sale on a London-based website.
Detectives in Northumbria were able to locate the business and asked the Metropolitan Police to seize the medals.
On Monday, police visited the Former Chief Petty Officer’s home in Gateshead and reunited him with the medals - eight days after his 57th birthday.
"It was the best birthday present – a wonderful end to a long story," he said.
“I was so upset when they were stolen, I was absolutely fuming.
"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."
"It’s a really nice end to the story,” Detective Sergeant Chris Raper-Smith said.
"Having something so sentimental and personal stolen, after such a distinguished service, it must have been absolutely horrendous for Anthony to have to come to terms with."
Mr Paterson said he came close to finding the medals in 2010, when a friend spotted them for sale in a pawnbrokers in Guisborough.
But by time Mr Paterson had arrived at the shop, they had already been sold to a private collector.
Mr Paterson joined the Royal Navy aged 16 and served on HMS Brilliant during the Falklands War in 1982.
He went on to serve on ships including HMS Euryalus and HMS Illustrious. He left the Navy in 2004.
Cover image: Mr Pearson said it was an "incredible surprise" to get his medals back (Picture: Northumbria Police).