Southsea tailor Alex Bentley devastated after thief steals 120-year-old fabric shears

FOR more than 90 years a razor-sharp pair of shears have been at the cutting edge of the Bentley family’s tailor shop.

Saturday, 27th July 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 27th July 2019, 10:31 am

That was until Wednesday afternoon – when Alex Bentley was left devastated after discovering they had been stolen in broad daylight.

A former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, he inherited the Albert Road shop and the 14-inch shears after the death of his father 44 years ago.

But after more than 90 years of trading he said their loss has caused his family’s firm to have its darkest day yet.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Alex Bentley inherited a very special pair of tailor's shears, from New York, but they were stolen on Wednesday July 24. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

‘These weren’t just a pair of scissors,’ the 67-year-old said.

‘They were the closest thing I had to an extension of my own hand.

'I used to them to cut the finest of silks and the heaviest of cloths, but now jobs that took me an hour are taking about two-and-a-half.’

He added: ‘I have been in this store in Albert Road for 40 odd years and we’ve been around here since the 1930s as a family.

‘But this is probably the worst thing I could think has happened to us, because it’s a personal tool I use every day in my working life.’

The shears were made by a New York City firm more than 120 years ago and were used even before Mr Bentley’s father owned them.

They were stolen between 3.30pm and 4.30pm on Wednesday as Mr Bentley went to the back of his store to get a glass of water.

‘I’m most concerned because if these shears are involved in a scuffle in any way, they’re a pretty fierce bit of equipment,’ he said.

Mr Bentley said a suspicious man with an Irish accent entered the shop clutching a roll of papers around the time the shears went missing.

He described him as being about 5ft9in-tall, in his 50s or 60s, with stubble and grey hair.

He was wearing a blue-chequed shirt and ‘tired' grey trousers.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘We have received a report of a theft of a pair of tailoring shears at Bentleys Tailors.

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting the crime reference number 44190260847.’