A woman in her 80s had her wedding rings stolen from her finger while she was bedridden in hospital.
Her family have been left “distraught” and “robbed of previous memories” by the incident, police said.
The elderly woman had been admitted to Broomfield Hospital in Essex on 6 June and died nine days later.
But while she was staying on the Notley Ward, her daughter saw the rings on her fingers were taped over.
When she asked the staff to remove the tape, they discovered the rings had been replaced with low value “tin” rings.
The two rings were on her hand when she was admitted and were never removed during any treatment, Essex Police said.
PC Grimsey, leading the investigation, said: "The rings were of sentimental value and the family are understandably distraught that this has happened.
"The rings signified happier times in the lady’s life, but her family are now robbed of those precious memories.
"One is a gold wedding band and one is a ruby and diamond ring."
Police are now appealing to anyone with information on the whereabouts of the rings to come forward.
Anyone with information should call her on 101 and quote reference 42/112803/21 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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