Off-duty police inspector finds church's stolen war memorial while out shopping

A war memorial has been returned to the church it was stolen from – thanks to a dedicated off-duty police officer.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 12:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 12:39 pm
Police officers with the memorial to 2nd Lt F J G Leadbitter 10/60th Rifles.

Northumbria Police Inspector Chris Farish was shopping in Durham when he spotted a First World War grave marker for sale in a second-hand shop.

He did some digging into its origins and discovered the memorial was listed as being at St Michael and All Angels Church, Warden – but had been stolen in 2008.

Officers from Northumbria Police’s Hexham Neighbourhood Policing Team joined forces with a team from Durham Constabulary and recovered the memorial and delivered it back to its rightful home.

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Hexham NPT Inspector Garry Neill said: “This was an impressive discovery by our eagle-eyed officer who, thinking it a rather unusual item to see for sale, did some digging in his own time and sought the help of his on duty colleagues to investigate further.

“Thanks to his dedication and quite frankly thoughtfulness and eagerness to do the right thing and make sure this memorial was returned to the rightful place, a brave soldier’s legacy will live on.

“We also want to thank the shop for their assistance in returning the memorial.”

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