A HEROIC policeman's family is distraught after his medal for gallantry was stolen in a break-in at their Newport home.

William Ivan Morrison, who died in 1999, was awarded the British Empire Medal for gallantry and presented with it by the Queen - and his son says its loss is like losing his dad all over again.

Son Ray Morrison, 51, of Risca Road, was on a family holiday in Majorca when thieves broke into his home taking the medal which was presented to his father at Buckingham Palace back in July 1974.

Mr Morrison believes it was one of the last British Empire medals to be presented for gallantry, after William Morrison, who was known as Billy to his family, fought off four armed robbers at a Co-operative store in Belfast in 1972 while on duty as a Detective Sergeant with the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

William Morrison, who served in the force for almost 30 years, didn't realise the robbery was still ongoing when he attended the scene with two other colleagues and ended up being held hostage at gunpoint.

But the three of them managed to fight off the men who were later jailed for a total of 38 years for offences including attempted murder of a policeman, robbery and possession of a firearm.

This led to Mr Morrison and his two colleagues being presented with the medal in a special ceremony watched by Ray, his mother Marie and his sister Rosalind.

Ray Morrison said: "I remember going there well as the plane we flew on from Belfast to Heathrow had to do an emergency stop in Manchester due to there being a bomb on board."

Following Mr Morrison's death in September 1999 from a brain haemorrhage, his son kept the medal as a keepsake.

But while he was on holiday, he was alerted by his father-in-law about the burglary which is believed to have happened sometime between August 19 and 27.

It is believed the thieves managed to remove a downstairs window using a block of wood to get into the house.

Mr Morrison's black Audi A4 car, which was parked on the driveway, was also taken but has since been recovered.

Jewellery worth around £6000 to £8,000 was also stolen as well as four mobile phones and around £200 in cash.

Mr Morrison said although he would like to see all his property recovered, it is the medal which has the most significance.

He said: "It just feels like I have lost my dad all over again. It represents his career and it represents what he stood for as a police officer."

Anyone with any information should contact Gwent Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.