'I'm shocked and saddened': Anger as rare medals stolen from museum

Five rare medals have been stolen from a museum in Colchester

Five rare medals have been stolen from a museum in Colchester - Credit: Colchester Borough Council

An appeal has been launched after five rare medals have been stolen from a museum in Colchester. 

The three gold and two bronze pieces went missing from a display cabinet at the Hollytrees Museum in Castle Park, following from what appears to have been a targeted break-in just after 8.30pm yesterday, Tuesday, March 1. 

The exhibits, which 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.

Gold medal awarded to Paxman’s at the Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition in 1892

Gold medal awarded to Paxman’s at the Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition in 1892 - Credit: Colchester Borough Council

Gold medal awarded to Paxman’s at the Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition in 1882

Gold medal awarded to Paxman’s at the Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition in 1882 - Credit: Colchester Borough Council

Councillor Darius Laws, portfolio holder for economy, business and 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.”

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A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed they are investigating a break-in at the museum. 

He added: "During the incident, suspects gained access to the museum and a display cabinet was forced open.

A bronze medal awarded to Paxman’s at the Australian International Exhibition in Sydney in 1879

A bronze medal awarded to Paxman’s at the Australian International Exhibition in Sydney in 1879 - Credit: Colchester Borough Council

A bronze medal awarded to Paxman’s at the Paris Exposition Universelle International in 1878

A bronze medal awarded to Paxman’s at the Paris Exposition Universelle International in 1878 - Credit: Colchester Borough Council

"Five medals were taken. No arrests have been made. Officers are liaising with Colchester Borough Council and are following a number of lines of enquiry."

Anyone with any information about the break-in or who saw any suspicious behaviour in the area on March 1 is being asked to contact Essex Police quoting the crime reference number 42/53042/22.

You can also call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111