Italian families have luggage stolen while visiting Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall

The Italian families are pictured here in Scotland after the theft.
The Italian families are pictured here in Scotland after the theft.

Two Italian families visiting Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria were left devastated after thieves stole all their belongings.

The families were enjoying the sites at Birdoswald Roman Fort, Gilsland, near Brampton, when thieves broke into their silver VW rental van and stole seven suitcases and two rucksacks.

All their possessions including laptops and passports were taken, leaving them with only the clothes they were standing up in.

Francesco Zorgno, one of the dads, said: "We are really desperate about this situation.

"We can't believe that every single item was gone - we even had some small plastic bags with some souvenirs from the south of England and they took everything."

The theft has wrecked their holiday - a one week tour around the UK which they have been planning for four months.

The parents and their young children, two girls aged eight 12 and two boys aged 10, are desperate to recover their belongings, especially those which have more of a sentimental value than a financial one like favourite clothes or pieces of jewellery.

"We completely lost everything," Mr Zorgno told The Cumberland News. "We are really desperate. We never thought something like this could happen."

Mr Zorgno is hopeful that they may be able to recover some of their possessions as he doesn't think the thieves would have taken their heavy bags far. He hopes items of no financial value may have been dumped in the countryside.

He said: "All the valuables will have been taken but we believe we can still find something. We still hope.

"We would be immensely grateful to anybody that could help us. Just even a piece of clothing, that's still important to us.

"We want to keep a very good memory of this place but at the moment that's very difficult."

The families, who are from the Venice and Bologna areas, take a trip together every year but because of work commitments, they can only take one week. The parents were keen to show their children the UK so organised a tour encompassing the south west of England, Wales, Carlisle, Hadrian's Wall, Glasgow and the Highlands.

The families wanted to show their children where the Romans were in the UK and stopped off at Birdoswald at about 5pm on Tuesday, July 4. Because of the heavy rain, they left most bags in the van.

Mr Zorgno said he visits the UK a lot for work and would be delighted if any items are recovered in the future to collect them. The families particularly want to recover their children's possessions.

Mr Zorgno said: "This would be fantastic if we could get them that shirt they like so much or even some personal bracelet or the glasses they normally wear. There's lots of personal things we have lost."

The theft has hit the children particularly hard and they keep saying that all they want to do now is go home.

The families continued their trip up to Scotland and were able to buy some clothes for the children on the night of the theft at a 24-hour shop in Glasgow. The children were cold as they were just in summer t-shirts.

"We spent a couple of hours looking for anything they can wear, even just for the night," said Mr Zorgno.

Staff at Birdoswald and Cumbria Police have been very kind and supportive, Mr Zorgno added.

Anyone with information as to the identity of the offenders or the current location of the property is asked to call PC 0353 Thomson on 101 or email, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The theft happened at about 5pm on Tuesday, July 4, at Birdoswald Roman Fort from a silver VW transporter van.

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