Bury St Edmunds: Man who put chunk of Abbey Ruins up for sale on eBay apologises to town

AN impassioned apology has been issued to the people of Bury St Edmunds by a visitor who was raided by police after a chunk of the Abbey ruins was put up for auction.

Last week the East Anglian Daily Times revealed how a piece of the foundations of the town’s Abbey ruins, an 11th Century ancient scheduled monument, had been put up for sale on Ebay.

Police opened an investigation and a warrant was executed in Merseyside at the weekend. The segment of the ruin was subsequently recovered.

They also arrested a 24-year-old man who has since been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

That man was Lee Brady, of Huyton in Liverpool. Mr Brady, who oversees a fan website dedicated to the television soap Brookside, contacted the EADT to issue a heartfelt apology to townspeople and to explain how the mistake came about.

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His apology was yesterday well received by key groups in Bury who said his words were “appreciated”.

The 24-year-old told how he was having his picture taken in the Abbey Gardens when he spotted a stone. He picked it up without ever thinking it might be protected or part of a scheduled ancient monument.

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He said: “I never thought what I was doing was ‘theft’ or a really bad thing.

“I have never been arrested. It was scary, to be honest. But I gave the police the small piece of stone back and was totally honest with them.

“I just thought of it as a good thing in that it would be nice that someone could have a small piece of history to tell their kids about.

“I’m sorry for this total mess and sorry to the people of Bury.

“I did not do any damage to the site – I just picked it up from the floor and put it on Ebay and then all of this has happened.”

Mr Brady told how ended up in Bury after visiting a friend in nearby Thetford. Asked what he made of the town, he said: “It was brilliant. We were in the Abbey Gardens and I thought, wow this place is great – there were so many people.”

Renee Fok, spokeswoman for English Heritage, said as far as they were concerned the case had been sorted out and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “We appreciate the apology and that Mr Brady understands the importance of our local heritage.”

Mr Brady has been asked to attend Bury police station on June 4.

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