Tuesday, August 04, 2009, 11:42
A COLLECTION of rare spoons worth about £20,000 has been stolen from the museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.
Police said the silver spoons, which had been on display for seven years, were taken from a display cabinet on Friday between 9.30am and 4.15pm when the museum was packed with holidaymakers.
A pane of glass was removed to get to the valuable cutlery, which was made in Barnstaple in the 17th century.
PC Shaunaugh Cobb said: “This is a particular upsetting crime, particularly for the staff and volunteers at the museum, and this thief has taken a little piece of history away from the residents of Barnstaple.
“I would urge anyone with information to contact the police to help us return the items so that everyone can enjoy them in their rightful place.”
There is CCTV in the museum, but it is not known if anyone witnessed the theft.
Alison Mills, the museum’s development manager, said: “These spoons were generously donated to the museum by a local man so that everyone could appreciate their beauty and the skills of Barnstaple craftsmen.
“It’s really upsetting that we can no longer use them to help the many local schoolchildren who visit to learn how wealthy and important Barnstaple was in the 17th century – these are the only examples of Barnstaple silver in our collections.”
A 40 year-old Barnstaple man was arrested in connection with the incident. He has been released on police bail to return to Barnstaple police station on September 1.
The spoons are still missing.
Police have asked any witnesses or anyone with any information to phone 08452 777444.