Another First World War silhouette stolen by ‘callous’ thieves in Fittleworth

Two silent silhouettes were stolen from St Mary's Church in Petworth SUS-180211-164433001
Two silent silhouettes were stolen from St Mary's Church in Petworth SUS-180211-164433001

Another village has been targeted as another silhouette statue marking 100 years since the end of the First world War was stolen by ‘callous’ thieves.

Police said a ‘silent soldier’ was taken from a concrete plinth at the junction of the B2138 Lower Street and Sandy Lane in Fittleworth.

The theft is believed to have taken place between 6pm on Sunday (November 18) and 6am on Monday (November 19).

The county has been hit by a spate of thefts of these Royal British Legion effigies put up in memory of those who gave their lives in the global conflict.

Officers said two silhouettes were stolen from Emsworth between 8pm on Sunday, November 11, and 9.30am on Tuesday, November 13.

Another was taken between 5pm on Sunday, November 11 and 11am on Monday November 12 from a site near the A272 at Lodsworth, in Petworth.

On September 5, St Mary’s Church, Petworth, reported the loss of statues of an airman and a sailor.

Overnight on August 29 and 30, a silhouette vanished from outside the Co-Op store in Main Road, Yapton, officers added.

Police said the silhouettes had been ‘callously removed’ and residents were appalled and outraged by their loss.

It is not known who has carried out the thefts or whether the incidents may be linked, officers added.

Inspector Danny West, of he Arun and Chichester prevention team, said he shared residents’ “disbelief and anger” at the spate of thefts.

He said: “Why anybody should decide to steal a symbol of the suffering and sacrifice of our armed forces is difficult to comprehend.

“I can assure residents that we will pursue any line of enquiry rigorously in an effort to recover the silhouettes and bring those responsible to justice.”​

Anyone with any information is asked to contact officers online or by phoning 101, quoting serial numbers 78 of 03/09 (Yapton), 1097 of 05/09 (Petworth), 793 of 13/11 (Lodsworth), 1457 of 14/11 (Emsworth) or 834 of 21/11 (Fittleworth).

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Anyone seeing any suspicious activity or vehicles around war memorials should call police by dialling 999 immediately.