RBL chairman ‘appalled’ by theft of wartime mementos
PUBLISHED: 18:30 10 December 2014
Police confirm they are investigating the incident
More than £800 worth of military memorabilia has been stolen from Honiton’s Royal British Legion (RBL) building in what has been branded as a ‘shocking’ offence.
Mick Robson, chairman of the Honiton RBL branch, said he and fellow members have been left ‘appalled’ after the historic mementos were swiped from the club’s building in Dowell Street.
To add to insult to injury, Mr Robson said the building’s interior was left trashed by the unknown culprit, believed to be a squatter.
The offender let off fire extinguishers, smashed door and window panes, and even defecated in the premises.
Mr Robson said drug paraphernalia was also uncovered.
Police officers are investigating the incident which took place at the vacant building between Friday, October 17, and Friday, November 7.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Robson said that the stolen military items had been put aside to be auctioned to raise funds for the RBL.
“The mementos, [which included cap badges and pictures] were donated by ex-service people,” he said. “When the club closed three years ago, we had no room to put them anywhere else.”
Mr Robson said some memorabilia was donated to Allhallows Museum, but what remained was valued by Chilcotts Auctioneers to be put up for auction for the RBL.
He added that the items, which included rare badges, were estimated to sell between £700 and £800 in total and would have been sold soon.
The club was waiting on a sale date before the theft and damage took place.
“The pictures were smashed to pieces and the offender had prised all of the cap badges off the shields and stolen them,” Mr Robson said.
He has blasted the offender for their ‘total disregard and lack of respect’, adding: “It is not about the money we would have made. The lowest thing you can do is steal from a charity.
“We are all absolutely appalled ¬- it is a shocking crime.
“That history would have lived on with someone else.
“I would be keen to know if the offender realises what they have done.
“If they realised what they had done and did not care, it just shows that they have no respect over a period where people are honouring those who have given their lives to the country.”
Police officers are appealing for anybody with information, or who may have had the badges sold or offered to them, to call 101, quoting crime reference number CR/121855/14.