‘Please return our precious bronze bear’

MCHG 12-723  A large bronze bear (inset) has been stolen from a garden in Park Road, Hemel Hempstead. Owner Janet Clark shows our photographer where it was fixed with a chain.
MCHG 12-723 A large bronze bear (inset) has been stolen from a garden in Park Road, Hemel Hempstead. Owner Janet Clark shows our photographer where it was fixed with a chain.

A woman fears a precious bronze bear statue bought in memory of her beloved friend may have been stolen for scrap metal.

Janet Clark, of Park Road, Boxmoor, discovered the monument, which took pride of place in her front garden, had vanished after returning home on Tuesday from her son’s wedding.

She had purchased it for around £2,500 with money left to her by pal - primary school caretaker Thomas Curry – who passed away around 10 years ago.

Janet said: “From our point of view it is not the monetary value that matters in the slightest, it is the connection to our friend. We have always called it Tom’s bear.”

The heavy statue was chained up and thieves, believed to have struck overnight last Thursday, used bolt cutters to release it.

“They came prepared,” said Janet.

“When we put it in we thought it was unnecessary to chain it up because it is so heavy, but we chained it as an added precaution.”

She fears the monument has already been melted down for scrap metal but is still appealing for its safe return.

“We are also happy to offer a reward if someone knows its whereabouts and we get him back safely.

“He means more to us than just a bear.”