Lion statues worth £200,000 stolen from Royal British Legion Village near Aylesford
Stone lions worth £200,000 have been stolen from the grounds of a manor house in the Royal British Legion Village.
Police believe the unique weighty statues might have been stolen to order from the site, near Aylesford.
They were taken from outside the Grade II-listed Preston Hall at about 10.30pm on Sunday.
One of the valuable stone lions stolen from Aylesford
Each sandstone carving is 1m tall and had been on plinths either side of the main entrance. One depicts a lion killing a snake, while the other is of a lioness with her cub.
Staff at the estate noticed the monuments, estimated to be worth £100,000 each, were missing in the early hours yesterday.
CCTV shows three men with a large low loader vehicle acting suspiciously at the entrance shortly before 10.30pm on Sunday.
They may have been taken out of Kent so we encourage any antique or garden ornament sellers to be aware of them..." - Insp Nick Sparkes
Police inquiries linked the incident to a separate theft of a white Isuzu lorry from Lake Road in Quarry Wood earlier that night.
The stolen vehicle was found abandoned in Rochester Road, Burham, at 1pm yesterday. A tracker had been fitted to the lorry, which allowed it to be returned to its owner.
Insp Nick Sparkes, from the Tonbridge neighbourhood policing team, said: "These statues are very unique and were possibly stolen to order. They may have been taken out of Kent so we encourage any antique or garden ornament sellers to be aware of them.
"We have been able to recover the stolen vehicle – thanks to the fact it was fitted with a tracker – but are appealing to the public to help us find the missing ornaments."
The statues are the property of the NHS, which owns the Preston Hall estate.
The site was once a hospital and has now been partly given over to housing and the Heart of Kent Hospice, as well as some NHS clinics.
Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to phone PC Nick Pell on 01622 604284, quoting crime number YY/21487/13, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
- Click here for more Maidstone news
- Click here for more news from across the county