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Museum manager shocked at theft of £15,000 rare coins

PUBLISHED: 16:20 27 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:24 27 November 2017

The 'smash and grab' raid saw two sets of rare coins taken from the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

The 'smash and grab' raid saw two sets of rare coins taken from the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

Archant

The manager of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon has thanked people for their support after raid, as police investigate several lines of enquiry.

The manager of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon has thanked people for their support after a ‘smash and grab’ raid overnight.

Offenders broke into the museum at around 1.30am and stole two sets of rare gold coins from a glass cabinet before making off.

The 22-carat gold sets had a total value of around £15,000 when they were gifted to the museum by a local benefactor in 2014.

But the items are rare collector’s sets and could be worth even more now.

The damage caused at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. The damage caused at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

One is a 2013 Queen’s Collection 60th Anniversary portrait collection which feature images of HM The Queen at different stages of her life.

The other is a 2014 Gold Proof Set, which was number 35 of only 75 in total issued by the Royal Mint.

Alison Mills, museum manager, said volunteers and staff had worked hard to clean up the mess so the museum can hopefully open again tomorrow.

She said: “It’s a disappointment, but it’s nice to see so many people expressing their shock and anger at what has happened.

The damage at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon today. Picture: Seth Conway. The damage at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon today. Picture: Seth Conway.

“We’re just shocked by it but everyone has come together to get ourselves back up and running.

“We’re sorry we were shut today but we’re hoping to get open again tomorrow.”

Several other items were damaged during the rain, and the museum was left with a smashed window and display cabinet door.

Alison said she hoped people in the area at the time of the break-in might have seen something which could help police.

Tthe Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. Tthe Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

DC Phil Lawes, heading up the investigation, said police were investigating several lines of enquiries at this stage.

He said: “It’s too early at this stage to say a lot, but we are investigating several lines of enquiry including forensic and CCTV.

“If anyone has any information then please get in touch with us via the 101 non-emergency number.”

Anyone with information can call 101 quoting crime reference CR/103140/17.

The damage at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon today. Picture: Seth Conway. The damage at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon today. Picture: Seth Conway.

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