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"Who would steal a bench?" - memorial stolen from Norwich street

Joanne Loombe has had a memorial bench stolen from outside Belvoir garage on Half Moon Way. Picture: Archant

Joanne Loombe has had a memorial bench stolen from outside Belvoir garage on Half Moon Way. Picture: Archant

Archant

A memorial bench erected in honour of a garage worker who died in 2017 has been stolen.

A memorial bench has been stolen from Half Moon Way in Norwich. Picture: GoogleA memorial bench has been stolen from Half Moon Way in Norwich. Picture: Google

Gary Peters died on Christmas Day, and his co-workers at Belvoir Garage in Norwich decided to place a bench outside their workplace in memory of him.

Costing around £350, it was erected in summer last year, but when the garage was opened on Tuesday morning workers discovered it had been stolen.

"I am disappointed, but not surprised," said co-owner of Belvoir, Joanne Loombe.

"I am disappointed in the human race."

CCTV from a scrap metal yard across the road showed a van pull up outside the garage at 9.38pm on Monday night.

Mrs Loombe believes a man seen getting out of the van is responsible.

The bench had a brass, gold coloured plaque with an engraving: 'Our friend, Gazza'.

"Maybe they didn't see there was a plaque, maybe they thought it was just a wooden bench.

"I know I won't get the bench back and I can't replace it. All I am really bothered about is that everyone is aware there is people going around doing things like this."

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She said the idea of a bench was a way to "kill two birds with one stone".

"I always sat out there anyway and it was just a way to remember someone who had a lot of character," she said.

"We kept it inside in the winter and on the anniversary of his death at Christmas time his family would come round and put flowers on it.

"One time I did say maybe we should bring it in at night time, but I thought, who would ever steal a bench?

"Shame on them if they are able to sleep at night and not have any qualms about taking a bench.

"I would rather he took something of value than take my bench."

She added Mr Peters had been "funny, kind, and always had your back".

"He was such a full of life character - that is why this is so sad," she said.

The bench was stolen at some time between 6.45pm on Monday August 12 and 6.15pm on Tuesday August 13.

Anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area between the times stated, or anyone with information, should contact Op Solve on 101 quoting crime reference 36/56587/19/

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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