Police are searching for 12 metalworking artifacts from the Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield, UK after they were stolen during a “carefully planned” early morning heist on May 14.
A statement from the South Yorkshire police said the theft took place at 6:45 a.m. on May 14 after “unknown offenders forced entry to the museum and caused damage to display cases”.
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The items taken include a variety of decorated and multi-blade knives, four animal sculptures made out of stainless steel cutlery, as well as a sterling silver coffee pot from 1773. Several of the items were on loan from the Sheffield Assay office and the Ken Hawley Collection Trust.
Sheffield Museums, the charity which runs the Kelham Island Museum alongside five other institutions, issued a statement requesting the public’s help in recovering the missing artifacts, which were part of a special exhibition highlighting the area’s history.
“We’re deeply saddened by the break-in at Kelham Island Museum over the weekend, which appears to have been a carefully planned theft,” said Kim Streets, Chief Executive of Sheffield Museums Trust. Streets also called the items “irreplaceable touchstones of Sheffield’s rich heritage”.
The thefts at the Kelham Island Museum occurred after several other incidents at museums and heritage sites in the area. In April, artifacts were stolen during an overnight raid at the Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham and the Sheffield Assay Office was targeted in January.
“This is the latest in a string of robberies in the city and these criminals need to be stopped,” said Ashley Carson of the Sheffield Assay Office, the authority responsible for hallmarking the city’s precious metals, in a statement. Carson also emphasized that the stolen items from the museum and the assay office are irreplaceable but do not have any resale value.
“Some of these items are likely to find their way onto the market and are very distinctive,” Streets said in a statement from the museum. “We’re appealing to the public to be vigilant and to share any information they have that might aid their recovery with South Yorkshire Police.”
The news was first reported by the Art Newspaper.