A 100-year-old war veteran from Skipton has been left shaken after burglars got into his home while he was out and stole his safe.

Former WW2 RAF flying boats pilot Len Parry, who escaped from the Japanese after being taken prisoner in Singapore, turned 100 last September.

He has lived in the same house in Skipton since 1963 when it was first built.

He said he has never experienced a burglary before and was angry when he discovered the safe had gone.

He said he rarely left the house unoccupied, but on this occasion he was attending a hospital appointment.

"I had to go to Bradford Royal Infirmary on the Thursday (February 4) for a small procedure on the top of my head and was due to go home afterwards. I was picked up in a people carrier by a man who drives patients to hospital.

"Unfortunately, as I was taking my jumper off in the hospital to put a gown on I lost my balance and went down, hitting my head on the floor and bruising my face. There was blood everywhere.

"The doctors said I should stay overnight for observation.

"I went home the next day and everything seemed alright.

"I hadn't noticed my safe was missing straight away. It was a couple of days later when I went into the spare room upstairs and the safe had gone. It was a brown enamel digital type about a foot square and was bolted to the floor. I know because I had put it in. Whoever took it would have needed a wrench of some sort to get it out.

"The strange thing is that there was no damage to any doors or windows and nothing else had been touched and no sign of a break-in. Drawers and cupboards hadn't been opened. It's baffling."

"There is a key box outside but you have to punch a code in to open it and the key was still inside."

Mr Parry said he had around £3,000 in the safe which he had for emergencies and when he wanted to give the grandchildren cash for their birthdays and such like.

He also had bank books and his driving licence in there as well as some premium bonds.

"My son and daughter have sorted the details with the bank now and I know the premium bonds are safe.

"My son-in-law is also in the police force at Keighley so he has been helping.

"The money's gone and forgotten now and I'm not frightened of anyone coming back because there is nothing of any real value here. You don't need valuables when you're 100," he said.

"I would like whoever did it to be caught, though. It really upset me for a few days," he added.

A spokesman for the police said they were appealing for witnesses and information.

They said: "North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about a residential burglary that occurred in Skipton.

"It happened at an address on Long Meadow, Skipton at some point between February 4 and 12 when a safe containing a large amount of cash was stolen from the home of a 100-year-old war veteran.

"Officers are appealing for information about any unusual activity seen in the area between these dates, especially on February 4 and 5.

"Also if anyone has found, or knows the whereabouts of a small brown coloured digital safe around a cubic foot (30 cms) in size.

"Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Ruth Daley. You can also email ruthdaley@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

"If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

"Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12210058787."