Express & Star

£10k lanterns stolen from Staffordshire school turn up in Huddersfield

Historic lanterns worth more than £10,000 stolen from outside a school have been returned a year later after they were found nearly 100 miles away.

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Teacher Ellie Thompson and headteacher Tina Blankley with the lanterns that have been returned to Chancel Primary School

The two copper art deco lanterns belonging to Chancel Primary were stolen in March last year.

They are believed to have been a feature of the school in Wolseley Road, Rugeley, since it was built in 1936.

But they have now been recovered in Huddersfield and returned to their rightful place at the school.

It comes after an appeal that also appeared on Crimewatch.

Headteacher at the school in Rugeley, Tina Blankley, said: “We are absolutely elated and delighted to have them back.

“I think it has been a real team effort, not just from the school but also the community, police and Crimewatch.

“At the time, I was shocked and disgusted. They were just part of the building and they are just the sort of thing I walk past every day. It is something you miss once it it gone. After a while, we had given up hope.

“We just want to say a really huge thank you to every body for their ongoing support.

“The fact that everybody has been so concerned about them, nobody gave up hope.

“I want to thank Crimewatch, staff, children, police and members of the public.

“Police have been on quite the journey around the country and being on Crimewatch has done the trick.

“It is very difficult to put a value on them, the value is more sentimental and historic.

“They are original art deco lanterns from 1930s.

“The children and staff are thrilled, we cannot believe we have got them back.

“We hope to get the steps in place to ensure they are secure and theft-proof to put them back where they belong.”

Two men, who are both white and thought to be in their early 20s, were caught on CCTV climbing over the school gate.

A Staffordshire Polices spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to investigate several lines of enquiry, and anyone with any information about the theft is asked to contact us on 101, quoting incident number 355 of 11 March.”

Sergeant Jamie McArthur, of Cannock Chase Local Policing Team appeared on BBC Crimewatch Roadshow to appeal over the missing lanterns.

The police do not want to comment any further on how the lanterns were found as investigations are ongoing.