TWO people have been arrested on suspicion of stealing instruments from a South Tyneside theatre.
A cello and violin belonging the European Orchestra Ensemble were taken from the Customs House in Mill Dam South Shields, before a concert on Saturday.
The six-piece Bulgarian orchestra, who were playing the Viennese Strauss Gala, managed to perform but the members were distressed at the theft.
Yesterday police arrested a 19-year-old man and 22-year-old in connection with the burglary.
They were still being quizzed by police last night.
The violin is a rare Lorenz Neudorf 1878. It was in a black, hard, long case with a sky blue interior. It also has two Fretschner bows.
The Muller cello was inside a black material case and also has a bow.
Customs House executive director Ray Spencer said after the break-in: “I’m deeply saddened that these two musicians who give so much joy to people around the world should visit our theatre and be the victim of a sneak thief.
“These are more than just a cello and violin to these musicians.
“They are their tools of the trade, and more than that, to them they are their babies, and without them they cannot continue their career.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, extension 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.