BRAZEN burglars scaled the front of a town centre home in the middle of the night to steal a 5ft stone statue of Aquarius.
The huge statue, which was outside a first-floor window of the grade two listed building in High Street, Fareham, was taken between 7pm on Thursday and 5pm the next day.
The statue of the Zodiac sign of the water bearer had been on the front of the building for 40 years and had become a well-known landmark.
Homeowner Henry Palk said: ‘It’s the sheer audacity of whoever did this.
‘The police officer who came to see us said they think it may have been stolen to order.
‘We put it there when we used to run the building as Chives restaurant – it was something that drew attention to the business.
‘But when we closed that in 2000 we had to ask the council for change of use as we wanted to live here as our home.
‘Because we had never got planning permission for it, we thought we might have to have it removed, but the conservation officer said we couldn’t because it was a Fareham landmark.
‘It was outside our youngest son’s bedroom window, but there was no-one in the room that night and my wife noticed it. Her first thought was that it had fallen into the street.
‘It was attached to the wall with a metal brace because it falling was always our greatest worry.’
Police are appealing for information. PC Manjit Gosal from Fareham police station said: ‘This was a unique item and is easily recognisable.
‘I’d like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area at the time of this incident.
‘The statue would have been very heavy and is likely to have needed two or three men to lift it and a vehicle to transport it.’
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact PC Gosal at Fareham police station by phoning 101 or use Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.