A DEVASTATED newlywed lost rings worth £10,000 after a thief struck at a hospital.
Christelle Visagie took off her wedding band and a platinum engagement ring – which features a one carat diamond inherited from her mother-in-law – to wash her hands.
After realising she had briefly left them behind, a panicked Christelle, 33, returned to find the precious jewellery gone.
Christelle, a dental office worker, who was visiting the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, as a patient, said the lost rings were her “whole life”.
The stolen wedding band, taken on Tuesday last week, was also made from platinum and studded with 24 diamonds.
Christelle, from Edinburgh, who got married in July, claims dealing with security staff at the hospital was like “walking into a brick wall”.
Lothian and Borders Police are now appealing for information about the “devastating” loss of the jewellery.
She was visiting the hospital for a routine flu vaccination and used the toilets near to the main reception.
“I went to the hospital with colleagues from work to get our flu jabs done.
“We went to the main reception to check-in and I then went to toilets to wash my hands. I left the rings on the sink and less than 20 minutes later I realised they were gone.
“I’m absolutely devastated – those rings were my whole life, I can’t sleep or anything.”
The platinum engagement band was given to her in December last year.
It has a powerful sentimental value as the one carat diamond belonged to her mother-in-law for 45 years.
Husband, Corne, a project manager, inherited the stone and designed a new ring for it to be placed in.
Christelle claims security staff could and should have done more to investigate.
She said: “I offered to leave the pictures [of the rings] so they could identify them if they do get handed in and they said they don’t do that.
“I then asked them to check CCTV and they said it’s not part of their job – honestly, it was like walking into a brick wall all the time.
“I’m now forced to turn to the police to help.”
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “The woman has been left devastated at the loss of her rings and is desperate to have them returned to her as soon as possible.
“Anyone who comes into possession of the rings is asked to hand them in to their local police station.
“We would also ask that anyone who can assist with our enquiries into this theft contacts police immediately.”
George Curley, Acting Director of Facilities, NHS Lothian, said: “We provided support to the woman who was understandably distressed, explained the rings had not been handed in and suggested that she must contact the police.
“Security staff are not allowed to go through CCTV footage at the request of a patient and this can only be done with police or legal intervention. The matter was reported to police and footage was then passed to them.
“It must be noted that security staff are not employed on hospital sites to investigate crime and it is unfortunate that the woman felt we were not being helpful. It is our understanding that the police are now investigating.”