Ghost-hunting museum trip reveals night thefts

THEY thought they had found spirits from the other side - but it turned out to be burglars on the roof.

A paranormal group at Gosport's Explosion museum disturbed thieves as they searched for ghosts on a midnight visit.

But the thieves still made away with valuable roof lead, and museum staff are angry the police did not catch the culprits.

Gary Albone was leading his Spooky-Nights group around the Priddy's Hard site on Friday, March 5.

The 38-year-old said: 'We were one of the main buildings and at about 2am it started to get noisy.

'At first we thought it was spiritual activity, but then it got louder and louder and sounded like someone running.'

Mr Albone found a staff member and they called the police before searching the site by torchlight.

But Gosport police said they couldn't come to the site that night, so the thieves got away.

The museum's misery was worsened this week when thieves returned to strip lead from the Grade I listed buildings.

Peter Goodship, chief executive of Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust which owns the site, said: 'It was very amusing to think that there was a group listening out for ghosts and ghouls, and instead they were hearing thieves at work!

'But it was very unfortunate that the police couldn't come out because we have now suffered more theft ahead of our April re-opening.

'These buildings are historic and we want people to be able to enjoy them.'

Mark Farrance, visitor services organiser at the museum, said: 'We think they are a systematic group at work because of the way they are coming in regularly.

'They seem to come in via the shore at low tide, and we found a pile they had got ready for collection.'

Hampshire police spokesman Neil Miller said: 'We were unfortunately unable to attend the first reported theft because of a higher category incident happening at the same time.

'But officers are patrolling the area more regularly now.'

Witnesses with information are asked to contact Gosport police station by calling 101.