Amateur sleuth finds missing Derby street sign
Thanks to a skillful search by a member of the public, one of 30 cast iron road signs stolen in a daring night raid in Derby last year has been found.
On May 3, 2020, residents of the Chester Green area and parts of Chaddesden woke up to find their Victorian road signs were gone.
Daring thieves appeared to have targeted the area while people were sleeping and allegedly timed their raid for around 3 a.m. and without anyone seeing anything suspicious.
They appeared to have been stolen for sale, as the original antique road signs can cost over £ 100, depending on the rarity or oddity of the name.
But now, thanks to the efforts of an amateur sleuth, one of the signs has been found and returned.
The mysterious sleuth has been dubbed ‘Miss Marple’ by local residents of the Darley area, in honor of retired Agatha Christie who solved the crime.
As a result of his efforts, the Camp Street sign was discovered for sale at an antique store in Hastings, East Sussex, after numerous police inquiries with local scrap dealers and antique dealers, but nothing was done. ‘Was found.
Meanwhile, Chester Green’s own ‘Miss Marple’ scoured online outlets for several months looking for signs for sale when she spotted the Camp Street caste iron sign in sell in Hastings.
Back in Derby, extensive checks were made to ensure that the sign was indeed the one that had been stolen.
It appears the Hastings store owner bought the sign in good faith at an antique fair in Newark in October 2020 and was shocked to find that what he bought had in fact been stolen.
He was very cooperative in helping to return the ensign to Derby despite losing his money on purchasing the ensign and paying for the costly return by mail of the heavy cast iron ensign.
Mark Davis, a resident of Chester Green, said he was aware of the role ‘Miss Marple’ played in finding the sign.
He said: “She has expressed a wish to remain anonymous and we respect that, but everyone wants to say kudos for the sign’s traceability.
“We were all very shocked when the signs were stolen in the first place and it would be great to find some of the others.
“I think the panel is unlikely to be put back in place as it is likely to be stolen again and therefore understand that a series of panel replicas will take place across the region.
“It’s a beautiful ending to a sad story. We were all very shocked when the signs were stolen in the first place and it would be great to find some of the others.”
Local Councilor Martin Repton said: “I would like to thank the owner of the antique store for his truly positive involvement in bringing this historic Derby sign back at great cost to himself.
“Most importantly, I would like to thank ‘Miss Marple’ of Chester Green, who has conducted tireless detective work in finding the missing sign in Hastings.”
The affected streets included: Camp Street, Kirk Street, Old Chester Road, Marcus Street, City Road, Otter Street, Milford Street, Keys Street, Alice Street, Canterbury Street, Rippon Crescent, Haydn Road, Atlow Road and Truro Crescent.
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The panels were attached to the walls of the houses, so it is believed that a crowbar or similar tool was used to remove them.
Online, Victorian cast iron road signs are on sale for between £ 75 and £ 125 each. Signs pointing to iconic locations in places like London are offered for sale with a price of around £ 400.
A spokesperson for Derby City Council said: ‘Replica signs are currently being installed in the area to replace the stolen ones, so we look forward to hearing ideas from the Chester Green community on what they would like to see happen to the recovered.
“It will have to go somewhere where it can be well maintained because it has suffered some wear and unfortunately cracked during transport.
“The stolen signs were made in a style unique to Derby, so we remain hopeful that more will be recovered.”
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Police said: ‘The thefts from the street sign are still being investigated.
“A 56-year-old Derby man who was arrested in connection with the June incident of last year remains free under investigation.”