Stolen Yarmouth sculptures found on scrap site

TWO bronze sculptures taken in Great Yarmouth were recovered by police hours after being reported stolen.

Staff from the borough council reported the herring basket sculptures, worth �2,000, missing shortly after midday today. Norfolk Constabulary's Operation RADAR team alerted scrap sites around the county to the theft with the assumption they had been stolen to be sold on for scrap.

Within 15 minutes police had received a call from a Norwich scrap site and photographs confirmed the sculptures were those that had been stolen.

Det Sgt Pete Jessop from Operation RADAR, said: 'This case demonstrates the benefits of police and scrap sites working together to combat metal theft and how it is becoming increasingly difficult for metal thieves to dispose of stolen property.'

The baskets had been stolen from a garden area close to the Norfolk Nelson Museum on South Quay overnight.

Police arrested two men, aged 29 and 39, in connection with the incident and both have been issued with formal police cautions.

Darren Barker, conservation officer for Yarmouth Borough Council, said: 'The bronze sculpture by Alison Atkins is of herring baskets (swills) which are a unique basket to Great Yarmouth used for unloading herring from fishing boats. The only known swillmaker was commissioned to make two baskets which were then cast into bronze.'

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The two sculptures were placed in the Middlegate Garden in South Quay in 2004 as part of a community enhancement project.

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