A 91-year-old former war hero who had £200 stolen by a burglar says his faith in humanity has been restored by the support he has received from Melton people.
Residents were dismayed after reading on Facebook that Harry Higgins had been conned out of the cash by a man who initially posed as a relative.
An online fundraising page was set up which raised around £400 for Harry within days.
People and businesses also donated food and gifts for hampers, which have been presented to him at his Melton home.
He said: “It’s amazing what people have done for me.
“It upset me to think I risked my life at 18 for 21 shillings a week for a bloke to then come into my house and do that to me.
“But Melton people have helped me so much, I can’t believe it.
“It makes you think it was all worth fighting for.”
The intruder tricked his way into Harry’s home at around 4pm on Wednesday December 13.
It was dark so Harry couldn’t see his face.
He initially thought it was one of his great-nephews until he came into the kitchen.
“I wasn’t going to tackle him because he was in his 20s and looked like he was drugged up because of the way he was acting,” Harry recalled.
“I thought ‘I’ve got to play this carefully because he could be dangerous’.”
The man asked to use the toilet but Harry noticed he went off into a bedroom.
He came downstairs and asked for a cup of coffee and, while the pensioner turned his back to put the kettle on, the man stole the cash, from a purse and a drawer.
This was money he had withdrawn to pay for Christmas presents.
After his war service with the 7th Royal Hampshire Regiment, when he helped rescue parachute regiment troops at the Battle of Arnem and was also one of the soldiers who liberated the infamous Belsen concentration camp, he worked for a decade as a conductor on Barton Bus routes in Melton.
Harry then spent many years working for WG Herbert, helping build houses across the town.
He was married to Jennifer for 62 years before she passed away six years ago.
Harry intends to donate half of the money he will receive from the online fundraising to the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance.
That was raised from an online page set up by Chris Fisher, of Melton Matters, after he saw a post about the incident on the Facebook page for Melton Neighbourhood Watch.
Residents Elaine Moore and Jackie Mossman set up the hamper collection, with items being left with Sallyanne Mousley at her shop in town, The Flower Basin.
Elaine also donated a roast dinner to be delivered to Harry by Little Bites. One Stop Shop and Age Concern also gave hampers to Harry.
Leicestershire Police, who said inquiries were ongoing into the incident, described the suspect as being about 5ft 7ins tall, of average build, with short brown hair, clean shaven, wearing a long grey overcoat and black woollen gloves, and who spoke with a local accent.