Museum Security Network

Pickaxe raid nets £20,000 worth of antiques

Pickaxe raid nets £20,000 worth of antiques

RAIDED: Jenny Butcher, owner of Antique Elegance on West Street, which was burgled on June 13 Photo No: RSMak210610-F01 by Alec Kingham

RAIDERS drove off with £20,000 worth of stolen items in the fourth major theft in Dorking’s antiques hub this year.

Six prized paintings and a Georgian desk were taken from Antique Elegance in West Street at 7.45pm on June 13.

Burglars used a pickaxe to smash their way through the shop window after blocking the premises from view with a white van.

Owners Roger and Jenny Butcher said the thieves had tried to smash their way through the shop ceiling from an upstairs flat being renovated.

Roger Butcher of Antique Elegance said: “It was quite an audacious raid because they pulled up in a van and blocked the whole window out. They went in upstairs first of all to try and come through the ceiling.

“We got mobile phone pictures of them. They looked like two old lags in their 50s. They broke in upstairs and tried to pull the floorboards up and come through.

“They were spotted on the roof by neighbours.

“They did not want to jemmy the door because it is alarmed, so they smashed the window instead with a pickaxe.”

He added: “It makes me sick. They have taken stuff that is mine, no one else’s.”

Jenny Butcher said: “Luckily, a neighbour disturbed them and took photos of them and they skedaddled. I think they were there to take the whole lot.

“All these paintings are known artists and some of them were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1848.”

One witness, who did not wish to be named, said: “I heard a lot of glass being smashed and I looked out the window and saw someone taking property out of the shop.”

The witness added: “Everybody puts the police down at the moment but they literally took two minutes to arrive on the scene.”

The raid was the fourth major burglary at an antique store in Dorking this year. Silverware and several thousand pounds’ worth of antiques were stolen in January and March from Talbot House Antique Centre. Earlier this month, £15,000 worth of jewellery was taken from Surrey Hills Antique Centre.

Detectives are seeking further photographic evidence that could lead them to the culprits of the most recent raid. A police spokeswoman said: “A white van, which was using false plates, was caught on CCTV in the area at the time of the offence and inquiries are on-going to establish where the vehicle went when it left the scene.”

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