Warrington ex-soldier appeals to bagpipes thieves

Image caption,
The bagpipes have travelled the world with Mr Paton

A former soldier is appealing for the thieves who stole his bagpipes outside a children's play park in Warrington to return them.

They were stolen from his work van outside the Jellybeans Playcentre while he attended his nephew's birthday party on 1 August.

A small silver plaque inscribed with Andy Paton's late daughter's name is also attached to his instrument.

"These bagpipes mean the world to me and my family," he said.

The 34-year-old father-of-one began playing the bagpipes when he was nine years old.

"I was born in Dundee and I have always loved playing them. I have had these bagpipes for 15 years, and I used to play them when I was in the Army.

"They have been everywhere with me, I played at the ceremony marking the return of Hong Kong to China, I've played them in musicals in Canada and America - they hold a lot of memories."

One of the most important memories is represented by a plaque on the bagpipes dedicated to Jessica, his daughter who was stillborn in 2004.

The thieves, who he believes were opportunistic, left the van door open. When he returned later that afternoon he could not believe the bagpipes had been stolen.

"I kept on thinking they might have fallen out of the van. Then I went by the River Mersey nearby and there were the sheets of my music floating in the water."

Cheshire Police appealed for information and confirmed an investigation was under way.

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