THIEVES broke into a circus tent to steal lethal crossbows and arrows used in a death-defying act.
Two crossbows and four arrows were taken from Gerry Cottle’s Circus, which has been on Southsea Common for the past two weeks.
The intruders also stole a bass guitar and a public address system worth £5,000 during the raid.
The crossbows were used for an act in which a performer shoots an apple off the top of a woman’s head.
Mr Cottle realised the items had been stolen just half-an-hour before Thursday afternoon’s show took place.
All of the stolen goods had been left in the tent and covered up after the previous night’s show.
Mr Cottle, who has worked in the circus business for 50 years, said: ‘Someone or a group of people must have snuck into the tent in the middle of the night.
‘I hadn’t noticed that anything had been taken until later in the day because that’s when we start to get everything ready for the next performance.
‘It’s a real nuisance
‘Fortunately the bass player has another instrument he can use but we’ve had to hire out a PA mixing desk at a cost of £60 because we need one to do the shows.
‘The guys in the crossbow act also had extra stuff they could use.
‘But what I’m mainly concerned about is that someone could be walking around Portsmouth with these crossbows and arrows.
‘They are lethal and have the potential to kill someone.’
Mr Cottle added: ‘I have come to Southsea with my circus in years gone by and nothing like this has ever happened before.’
Police said the theft had been reported to them and appealed for information about the crime.
Duncan Smith, a spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary, said: ‘A theft at Gerry Cottle’s Circus was reported to us.
‘We believe the incident could have taken place between 9.45pm on Wednesday and 1.30pm on Thursday.
‘Anyone who saw people acting suspiciously around the grounds of the circus on Wednesday night should contact police on 101. Alternatively contact the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.’