Callous burglars broke into an Amble home and stole a wooden casket containing the ashes of the victim’s husband.
The thieves also pinched thousands of pounds worth of jewellery during the incident, which happened between 8.45am and 5.30pm on Monday on Robsons Way.
Police say the heartbroken family, who did not wish to be contacted, are extremely distressed and have appealed for the casket to be returned.
Describing the burglary, a police spokeswoman said: “An unknown person has forced the lock of the rear door to gain entry to the home.
“The house has been searched and a selection of small portable items were stolen, including a watch, rings, necklaces and bracelets to the value of £5,000, as well as an A4-sized wooden memorial box – with a plaque – containing the ashes of the owner’s husband.”
The incident is one of a spate of daytime burglaries in north Northumberland and officers believe they might be connected.
The other incidents occurred in Longhoughton and Longframlington at the end of last month. In all three cases, the culprits forced their way into the property and stole small portable items before making off unseen.
Officers are appealing for witnesses and have stepped up patrols in these areas.
The incident in Longframlington happened on November 25, when an unknown person broke a rear window of a patio door to gain entry to a home, before small portable items were stolen.
Two days later, between 6.30am and 5.30pm, a property at East Field, Longhoughton, was targeted. The burglar forced a rear-door lock and, after gaining access to the house, stole an A3 Samsung mobile phone, a gold wedding ring, a gold dress ring and cash.
Police are urging residents to use a burglar alarm if they have one, keep doors and windows locked, ensure security lights are working and set timer lights to come on during the darker nights.
Anyone with details about the crimes should call 101. Or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.