Hunt for thieves after raids in Lovejoy Country

POLICE have launched a hunt for antiques thieves who have targeted two picturesque Suffolk villages in the heart of “Lovejoy country”.

Dave Gooderham

POLICE have launched a hunt for antiques thieves who have targeted two picturesque Suffolk villages in the heart of “Lovejoy country”.

In a case reminiscent of the classic 1980s BBC series, antique shops in Cavendish and Clare have been raided by thieves and precious artifacts stolen within the space of four days.

The owner of Cavendish Antiques & Interiors last night spoke of his anguish after a number of antiquities was stolen from a window display.

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The thieves failed in their attempts to break through the front door of the premises but still managed to steal an early Victorian walnut and brass-decorated dome top and 19th century walnut humidor box and other items worth a total of �2,000.

Graham Hessell , who owns the shop and another one in Steeple Bumpstead, near Haverhill, said: “It is a very disappointing and disconcerting thing to happen - the aggravation in cleaning up this mess is a great factor.

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“It would appear that the thieves were not particularly professional and our security measures ensured they could not actually break into the premises. We will also now be putting in tougher, security glass.”

The popular antiques shop was raided in the early hours of Sunday morning when the would-be burglars failed in their attempts to kick open the main front door.

Mr Hessell - who was at a wedding in Lincolnshire when the raid took place - paid tribute to neighbours who quickly alerted the police, but thieves stole a number of antiques from the window display before fleeing the scene in what is believed to be a red Vauxhall Astra.

Other items stolen were a large Mary Gregory decorated cranberry vase and tumbler, a two-sectioned tea caddy, a porcelain blue and white decorated container and various jewellery.

Mr Hessell said a 19th century oil lamp and several pieces of furniture were also damaged during the thieves' quick getaway.

Police last night linked the raid with a burglary at FD Salter Antiques in Church Street, Clare, on Wednesday morning .

Jewellery and silverware was stolen from the shop at about 3.30am despite a security alarm going off at the time.

First on air in 1985, Lovejoy was filmed in the antique district surrounding Clare, Cavendish and Long Melford and saw main star, Ian McShane, solve antique-based mysteries.

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