News 8 May 2009

Rare bronze statues stolen

Bronze hippo statuePolice are appealing for information after two rare bronze statues were stolen from the grounds of a Canterbury House.

The bronze hippo set were taken between 7pm on Wednesday, 6 May, and 11am on Thursday, 7 May, from the grounds of the house on the outskirts of Canterbury.

The late John Aspinall commissioned the set which was made in Cape Town. They are estimated to be worth around £15, 000. Only two sets, which comprise of one full hippo and one head of a hippo, were ever made. The other set is on display at Port Lympne zoo.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Gary Titherly, appealed for information: ‘These statues are extremely rare and easily recognisable so I am confident that someone may know where they are.

‘Due to the sheer weight of the bronzes they would have been difficult to move and more than one person would have been involved in the crime. The thieves appear to have taken them with an amount of care, which leads me to believe that they in one piece. They are very unique and may well be in storage for possible sale at a later date. I would like to hear from anyone who may know where they are.’

Can you help?
If you have any information about the whereabouts of the statues, or have any information that may help police, please contact police on 01227 762055 quoting reference EY/007781/09. Alternatively contact Kent CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111.

Partnership effort to make rural roads safer

Neighbourhood police officers have teamed up with Canterbury City Council, the Department of Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs in an effort to combat rural crime and make local roads safer.

On Wednesday, 6 May, Pc Paul Gibson and his multi-agency team, which included two police motorcyclists, were out in force across rural Canterbury, on the trial of those who fly-tip, use red diesel or illegally transport waste.

The initiative is a follow-up to a series of successful similar operations held last autumn and also forms a direct response to the concerns from local residents.

In total 52 vehicles were stopped and their fuel tested. Of these one was seized and issued with a fine. Two £300 fines were issued to the drivers of waste transports who were carrying waste without a licence and two people were referred to the DWP on suspicion of benefit fraud.

Pc Gibson explained that information from the local community has been a important part of the effort: `Over the last few months we have been working closely with residents and Parish Councils who have been able to provide us with crucial information that had allowed us to target our efforts to maximum effect.

`I am confident that our action not only demonstrates we are working effectively with our partner agencies but also shows that we are keen to address the concerns of local people and offer long-term solutions to community problems.’

Chief Inspector Mark Harrison added: `This issue has been a high priority for local people and I hope that they continue to support our efforts by reporting incidents and keeping us informed as to what is going on in their neighbourhood.’
Similar action is planned for the future.

Woman fined for stealing charity shop goods

A 32-year-old Herne Bay woman has been fined £80 after she admitted taking bags of items due to be sold to help charities.

The woman was filmed loading the bags in the back of her car on Easter Sunday and following investigations was arrested on Monday (27 April 2009) and issued with a fixed penalty notice and fine.

The filming was carried out by the manager of the West Bay charity shop. Christine Quilter, who had become fed up with people taking bags of clothing and other items left outside the Sea Street shop.

Mrs Quilter explained that people often leave goods outside the shop on Sunday evenings after they have not been able to sell them at weekend boot fairs.

She added: ‘I planted three bags outside the shop and sat and waited with my digital camera. Along came this woman and I followed her down the road and challenged her and she said that they belonged to her mum. I knew they didn’t I put them there! She drove off and I contacted our local police community support officer.

‘I was pleased that the police were able to respond so quickly and arrest the woman involved.’

Dc Ron Smith advised people offering items to think about when and where they leave their donations, he said: ‘Ideally only offer your donations in when the shop is open as this is the one way you can guarantee it is reaching the people it should.

‘Your donations play a vital role into raising much needed cash for good causes and it is saddening that these callus thieves take advantage of people’s good nature.

‘Though we will continue to take action against people who steal from charities, people can help us by making life harder for the thief and taking their contributions directly into the shops.’