Bungling burglars thought they’d hit the jackpot when they made off with seven priceless paintings from a stately home in Doncaster – but they’d actually swiped low value replicas.
The two thieves were captured on CCTV removing paintings from the entrance of luxury hotel and wedding venue Rossington Hall during a break in on Monday night.
But staff at the venue have revealed the pair may be in for a shock when they realise the paintings are in fact of no historical or high monetary value.
Lucy Batchelor, business development manager at Rossington Hall said: “Seven pictures were stolen but they aren’t originals. I’m sure the thieves thought they’d got away with thousands of pounds worth of art but the paintings are of no historical significance.
“They’ve actually caused more damage in taking the paintings than the paintings were actually worth.”
Staff revealed the total value of the seven paintings, two vases and clock stolen in the break-in on Monday night was £1,500.
Ms Batchelor added: “It’s more of an annoyance than anything as we had three weddings taking place after the break-in and we had to make sure everything was back to normal so it didn’t spoil the wedding experience for them.
“We replaced the pictures with some we had in storage and also had to repair the door.”
Staff at the venue are now appealing for people to circulate the CCTV footage of the break-in in a bid to catch the culprits.
In the footage the pair can be seen entering the portico entrance of Rossington Hall off Great North Road with torches and brazenly taking paintings down from the wall.
Security staff were alerted to the incident after the alarm sounded and they disturbed the pair.
As well as the CCTV footage of the crime, staff said outdoor cameras at the venue picked up the vehicle and partial number plate that detectives are analysing.
Ms Batchelor added: “We are appealing for people to continue to share the CCTV footage on social media as we believe someone will recognise them.
“We are hopeful the police will catch the people responsible.”
Police confirmed an investigation was underway.
A spokesman said: “At about 10.30pm on Monday it is reported that offenders unknown broke into the Hall and stole a number of paintings from the building.
“Officers believe the offenders drove a car across tracks from Stripe Road, Rossington to access the building.”
Rossington Hall has become one of the region’s premier wedding venues and hotels since re-opening in the summer of 2012 following a restoration project to bring the Victorian hall back to its former glory.
n Anyone with information is asked to call 101 and quote incident number 367 of July 26 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org