Wartime memorabilia is snatched from museum
5:00pm Thursday 2nd April 2009.
By Gina Marden »
CROOKS stole beloved wartime memorabilia from a charity-run museum before torching its stables.
The Plotlands museum on Langdon Hills Nature Reserve, run by the Essex Wildlife Trust, now faces a bill for thousands of pounds to repair the damage.
But the museum will be unable to replace stolen memorabilia, which includes wartime police, fire brigade and air raid warden helmets.
Sue Adams, manager of the centre, in Lower Dunton Road, said the burglary was particularly frustrating as the museum celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
Many of the stolen items had been donated by volunteer staff or local families.
Mrs Adams said: “It is just gutting. We are a charity and these are items that people have given us.
“They are there for everybody to enjoy and people have memories and sentimental attachments to them.
“But the thieves obviously knew what they were looking for because they took all the helmets of real value and left two, which are quite common, behind.”
The crooks broke into the museum by cutting through a metal latch.
Among the items they took was a rare brass fireman’s hat, dating from the 1930s and worth about £500.The thieves also broke into a stable, stealing a bridle and a saddle, before setting the stable alight.
Two other outbuildings were also damaged.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the break-in.
Sgt Elliot Judge, of the Langdon Hills neighbourhood policing team, said: “These thieves are utterly selfish in taking something which was there for the enjoyment of everybody.
“We are continuing to investigate this burglary, but would remind people that if they see these artefacts, which are very distinctive and unusual, then please contact us.”
Witnesses to the break-in, which happened between 5pm on Sunday and 4pm on Monday, can contact police at Laindon on 0300 3334444 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111