Colchester Museums is appealing for the return of five rare medals stolen from Hollytrees Museum overnight.
The three gold and two bronze pieces went missing from a display cabinet, following what appears to have been a targeted break-in just after 8.30pm yesterday (1 March).
The exhibits, which all date from the second half of the 19th Century, had been on show since last May but were repositioned last week and include medals awarded to Paxmans at the Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition, the Paris Exposition Universelle International, and Australian International Exhibition in Sydney.
Cllr Darius Laws, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Business & Heritage, said: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by the theft of these rare and irreplaceable objects from the museum’s collection, and appeal for their immediate and safe return.
“Fortunately, we have been able to share some useful CCTV of the incident and are continuing to assist the police with their ongoing investigation.
“This is not simply the theft of gold medals, but it is the theft of Colchester's heritage. I would appeal to those responsible to reconsider what they have done, do the right thing and return the medals so everyone in Colchester can enjoy them.
“If anyone has any information about the missing items, I urge them to step forward and either contact Colchester Museums or Essex Police.”
A spokesperson for Essex Police added: “We are investigating a burglary which took place at Hollytrees Museum, off High Street, in Colchester.
“We were called shortly before 9.30pm last night, Tuesday 1 March. During the incident, suspects gained access to the museum and a display cabinet was forced open. Five medals were taken. No arrests have been made. Officers are liaising with Colchester Borough Council and are following a several lines of enquiry.
“We need anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in the area last night or has any CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage to contact us. If you have any information, you can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm. Please quote 42/53042/22. You can also call us on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Page last reviewed: 2 March 2022
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