Art stolen from village hall

PUBLISHED: 13:32 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 14:22 10 May 2010

Artist's Exhibition.
Leaden Roding.
July 05, 2008.
Photograph by Michael Boyton.
Pic shows: Artists with their work.
Names (L-R): Ann Cole; Brian Chancellor; David Cooper.

Artist's Exhibition. Leaden Roding. July 05, 2008. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: Artists with their work. Names (L-R): Ann Cole; Brian Chancellor; David Cooper.

ARTISTS and exhibitors were left shocked on Sunday morning when nearly £1500 worth of paintings was stolen from a village hall. Thieves broke into Leaden Roding village hall halfway through a two- day art exhibition and stole 39 paintings; over half of th

ARTISTS and exhibitors were left shocked on Sunday morning when nearly £1500 worth of paintings was stolen from a village hall.

Thieves broke into Leaden Roding village hall halfway through a two- day art exhibition and stole 39 paintings; over half of the collection.

One of the artists, who didn't wish to be named over fears her work could be targeted again, said: "I couldn't believe it. We came in on the Sunday morning for day two of the exhibition and the place was almost empty, I lost four of my own paintings, most of us are older people who just paint for the fun of it. How could someone do this?"

Police said burglars broke into the hall by forcing a side door, and investigations are under way.

Artists at the show try to sell their paintings to fund materials for the next year's show, said Jane Newbold, show organiser. "After the discovery the remaining pictures were picked up by the owners and taken home," she said.

The thieves also tried, unsuccessfully, to break into the bar area in the hall.

Mrs Newbold is also a member of the Leaden Roding art club, which puts on the show every year. She said: "The paintings will probably be sold on a market stall somewhere, and their proud owners will not see them again. I can't believe people can be so cold, ruthless and horrible. We are all bitterly disappointed."

The exhibition had been due to run on both Saturday and Sunday and has been going for a number of years. It features all the work by the local art group as members display all the paintings they have done over the last year. Most of the artists use any cash received to buy frames, paints and canvases ready for the next show, so the future of the show has been cast into serious doubt.

The artist added: "We will try to go ahead with the show again, but it might be difficult if we have no work to produce. It really is a horrible thing to happen. We are appealing to anyone who might have seen what happened to come forward."

If you have any information please get in touch with the Leaden Roding Neighbourhood Specialist Officer on 07779 316979.

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