Artist Jeff Perks returned to his Cressbrook studio after taking a break over Christmas to find the padlock at the back entrance had been broken off.
At first he thought those who broken in had just made a mess of his studio on Manchester Road, but on closer inspection he realised the only thing which had been taken was his late son’s police helmet.
Jeff said: “My studio has some hi-tech equipment but whoever smashed the lock didn’t take that. Only one thing was taken which is something much more personal and completely irreplaceable. They took Steve’s helmet.”
Steve Perks was a Met Police Officer working down in London but was killed in a hit and run accident in March 1992, aged just 28.
After his death, his parents Jeff and Carole Perks were given his Metropolitan Policeman’s Helmet by the force.
Jeff said: “You don’t realise how much something means to you until it’s gone.
“We have pictures of Steve but his helmet is a very personal thing – it belonged to him and now it’s been taken.
“It seems very odd to only take this which makes me think someone took it for a joke or for fancy dress and they certainly didn’t know the sentimental value it has for us.”
Carole said: “The back of Jeff’s studio on Sherwood Road where the lock was broken is very quiet but we hope someone might have seen something or seen someone with a police helmet in recent weeks.
“Derbyshire Police officers don’t wear a hat like Steve’s so it would stand out if you spotted it.”
Jeff and Carole moved up to Derbyshire in 2000 bringing Steve’s helmet with them and it had sat proudly in Jeff’s studio ever since.
He said: “I don’t care who took it or why you took it, I just want it back.
“Drop it off and run away if you don’t want to face us but please just return it.
“We want our son’s helmet back.”
Anyone who may know the location of Steve’s helmet is asked to return it to the Manchester Road studio in Cressbrook.