Historic milestone stolen from Redbourn

Police are investigating a heritage crime in Redbourn involving the theft of an 18th Century milesto

Police are investigating a heritage crime in Redbourn involving the theft of an 18th Century milestone - Credit: supplied

An “extremely heavy” 18th century milestone has been stolen from its roadside location near a country pub.

The hole showing where the18th Century milestone was located

The hole showing where the18th Century milestone was located - Credit: supplied

The theft of the milestone, removed at some time between March 15-27 from St Albans Road, is being treated as a heritage crime by Herts Police.

Investigating officer Sergeant Tom Fisher said it has only recently been noticed that the milestone is missing from its location opposite the 17th century, Grade II listed Chequers Inn.

Made out of grey stone, the historic marker is around three feet high, extremely heavy and a vehicle would have been needed to transport it.

It is of significant historical interest and would have originally have been installed by the Dunstable-St Albans-London Turnpike Trust in the 1700s.

Milestones have been placed along major routes since the Roman times and are placed at strategic points on roads. They indicate the direction of the next habitation or major town or city.

Sergeant Fisher said: “The stolen milestone monument is a piece of Redbourn’s heritage and is likely to have been in place for hundreds of years.

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“We need to do all we can to ensure the monument is returned to where it rightfully belongs and I am appealing to anyone who may have seen anyone with a vehicle acting suspiciously in the vicinity during the stated times to please contact me.

“I’d also like to hear from anyone who may have been offered the monument for sale or if anyone feels they may know who could be responsible for this crime.”

Sandy Ross, a resident of Redbourn for 35 years with an interest in local history, noticed the monument was missing.

He described the theft as “a real loss to the local area”.

Sandy said there were originally four such milestones between St Albans and the rural village, but another one was also stolen a couple of years ago.

Heritage crime is any offence which harms heritage assets and can include architectural theft, criminal damage, unauthorised excavation and metal detecting, damage caused by vehicles, or theft of historical and cultural property.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sergeant Fisher via the police non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers, the independent charity, on 0800 555 111.

• To help protect local heritage sites the police last year launched Heritage Watch - a scheme which aims to protect the county’s thousands of historical sites, monuments and artefacts from heritage crime.

• Offences have become more prevalent in recent years as criminals have turned their attention to metal theft and the illegal trade of assets. Putting right damage caused to heritage assets can lead to repair bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

• The public can sign up to become members via the Constabulary’s web page where further information can also be found: www.herts.police.uk/HeritageWatch