THE owner of rare First World War medals believes they were stolen to order from a military show.
Theodore Joseph had a stand selling military memorabilia at the Overlord Spectacular in Denmead over the Bank Holiday weekend.
On Sunday afternoon, he noticed a presentation box with four rare medals had been stolen.
Together they are worth up to £2,200.
They include the Military Cross at Gallipoli, the War Medal 1914 to 1920, the Victory Medal, and the 1914 to 1915 Star.
Mr Joseph, from Chichester, said: ‘I was working for my son’s business, C Company when it happened. We deal with militaria – medals and badges, that sort of thing.
‘The medals originally belonged to a chap called Second Lieutenant Captain Philip Dealty of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the First World War.
‘We were at the Overlord event in Denmead and someone is supposed to watch over the medals at all times because of the value.
‘I left someone in charge while I took a short break.
‘I walked up to the medal case and realised they were gone.
‘I don’t know how it could have happened. They left the other medals there.
‘I believe they were stolen to order.’
The Military Cross is a sought-after medal in itself but teamed with the other three, it makes up a very valuable set.
Mr Joseph has put an estimated value of between £1,700 and £2,200 on the stolen medals.
He added: ‘Nothing like this has ever happened before in all the years we have been doing it.’
Robert Soar is chairman of the Overlord Spectacular.
He said there was only one theft reported over the weekend and suspects it was by someone who spotted the value of the medals early in the day and watched the stall until they could grab the opportunity to steal them.
He added: ‘There was no CCTV as it is just a 40-acre field with no electricity.
‘Security is down to individual stallholders.
‘But we offer every sympathy and do hope the medals are returned.’
If you have any information about the theft, which took place between 1pm and 2pm on Sunday call Hampshire police on 101.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.