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Gallery owner hit by third bronze theft in year
Published 16/12/13



A gallery owner says he is considering shutting his business after a third bronze statue was stolen from his shop in six months.

A bronze female nude was stolen from Whittington Fine Art in Hart Street last month, just a few months after two similar statues were taken during Henley Royal Regatta week.

Barry Whittington, who owns the gallery, said: “The ones that were stolen easily retail at 3,000 each so I have lost 9,000 of bronze this year.

“I’ll probably close the bronze gallery down, I am considering it because I have just about had enough really.

“The sales are fairly slow on the bronze side. I’ve had it three years now and it has got to start paying for itself. Everybody loves what they see but, as is Henley at the moment, nobody is spending any money.”


Mr Whittington, who also had one bronze statue stolen last year, spoke to the suspect of the most recent theft.

“I was talking to the chap for about 25 minutes,” he said. “He came in and we got talking about art and bronze sculptures. I sat down at my desk about 20 minutes later and he quickly said “cheerio” and left and that is when I thought something was sort of strange.

“I had a quick look outside and went to follow him and I saw him get into a dark coloured VW and they drove off into the distance.

“There was obviously someone waiting over the road when he signaled in the window.”

The 11 inches by six inches statue, which is about five inches high, was in Mr Whittington’s painting gallery, which he has owned for 11 years and is next door to the bronze gallery which he has owned for the past three.

The statue was one of eight created by English sculptor Jonathan Wylder.

Mr Whittington said: “It is always upsetting because somebody is stealing your livelihood and that is very disappointing. I don’t think I have had any paintings stolen in 11 years because they steal things you can put in your pocket.

“I think he [the thief] flipped it up on its edge and hid it behind a newspaper.”

The theft happened between 3.15pm and 3.30pm on November 11, just half an hour before a patterned serving plate was stolen from One Offs of Henley, in Reading Road.

Mr Whittington says a greater police presence around the town could stop more burglaries taking place.

“It would be nice to see more police around and not just during the regatta,” he said. “I think it always helps to have a police presence.”

The suspect is described as 5ft 10in, in his early-to-mid thirties, clean-shaved and was dressed smartly.

He left Hart Street in a black or dark coloured Volkswagen Golf towards Maidenhead over Henley bridge. The number plate began with LM52 or LM53.

Anyone with information about the offences should call Thames Valley Police on 101.



ends



Rio theft- the statue stolen in October

A GALLERY owner is calling for more police patrols in Henley after suffering the third theft of a bronze statue.

The female nude was stolen from Whittington Fine Art only months after two similar statues were taken during Henley Royal Regatta week.

Barry Whittington, who owns the Hart Street gallery, said: “The statues easily retail at 3,000 each so I have lost 9,000 of bronze this year.

“It is always upsetting because somebody is stealing your livelihood.”

Mr Whittington, who also had a bronze statue stolen last year, only realised he had been speaking to the thief after he had escaped.

“I was talking to the chap for about 25 minutes,” he said. “He came in and we got talking about art and bronze sculptures.

“I then sat down at my desk and about 20 minutes later he quickly said ‘cheerio’ and left. That is when I thought something was sort of strange. I think he had flipped the statue up on its edge and hid it behind a newspaper. I had a quick look outside and went to follow him and saw him get into a dark-coloured VW which was driven off.

“There was obviously someone waiting over the road and he signalled in the window.” The 5in high statue was in Mr Whittington’s painting gallery, which he opened 11 years ago, rather than his bronze gallery, which he added three years ago.

Mr Whittington said: “I’ll probably close down the bronze gallery as I have just about had enough.

“The sales are fairly slow on the bronze side. I’ve had the gallery three years now and it has got to start paying for itself.

“Everybody loves what they see but, as with everything in Henley at the moment, nobody is spending any money.”

He added: “It would be nice to see more police around and not just during the regatta. I think it always helps to have a police presence.”

Insp Mark Harling, head of Henley police, said: “We have a number of police officers and community support officers who patrol Henley town and the surrounding area.

“There are examples where Pcsos have been the catalyst for catching people who have committed crimes.”

The statue, which was one of eight created by English sculptor Jonathan Wylder, was stolen between 3.15pm and 3.30pm on November 11. The suspect is described as 5ft 10in, in his early to mid-thirties, clean shaven and smartly dressed.

He escaped in a black or dark-coloured Volkswagen Golf which was driven towards Maidenhead over Henley Bridge. The number plate began with LM52 or LM53. Anyone with information should call Thames Valley Police on 101.

*Last week, the Henley Standard reported a theft of a plate from One Offs in Reading Road, Henley, at about 4pm the same day. Shopkeeper Abba Kaboudahangi chased the thief and recovered the plate but the suspect escaped. Mr Kaboudahangi said he was carrying “something brass”.

Published 16/12/13

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