Thieves strike at Wickham art exhibition

Rookesbury Park, Wickham 'where the art theft took place
Rookesbury Park, Wickham 'where the art theft took place
Bethany Godman, right, who was sent 'flying' after being struck by a van, pictured with her mum Charlotte. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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BURGLARS broke in to a stately home and stole artwork worth around £15,000 that was due to be displayed in an exhibition.

The event organisers have put a desperate appeal for people to look out for any unusual wildlife art in the hope of catching the culprits or reclaiming some of the missing 12 paintings and nine sculptures.

The Southern Nature Art show is due to open at Rookesbury Park Manor, Wickham, tomorrow and 95 artists are displaying their work at the show.

However, its organisers were left heartbroken this morning when they realised that selected pieces of artwork had been stolen, between 10.30pm last night and 7.50am this morning.

Caroline Pinnells, organiser, said: ‘If people know that these things have been stolen then hopefully they will be able to be alert.

‘It has been so heartbreaking. I want this information out there so the people who took these items know that we have called the police.

‘Every one has been so supportive but people need to be aware and keep their eyes out and call the police if they see anything that could have come from the exhibition.’

The collection of stolen paintings include pictures of fish, swans, foxes, a grey wolf, a roebuck, elephants and polar bears, in a variety of styles, plus more.

The sculptures include elephants, hares, a cheater, lemurs and hippos.

A police spokeswoman said: ‘The art, owned by nine artists, was being displayed as part of the Southern Nature Art exhibition.

‘It is believed that access was gained via ‘french style’ doors to the side of the building.

‘Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting 44150297029.’

Picture: Left to right Nick Barker, Caroline Pinnells and Alannah Barker