Support for St Albans man at centre of WWI and WWII artefacts raid

Police cordon outside the property

Police cordon outside the property - Credit: Archant

There has been a groundswell of support for the “devastated” St Albans man at the centre of a dramatic – and very public – police raid of his First and Second World War artefacts last week.

Herts Police evacuated four homes either side of a home in Windmill Avenue last Wednesday, after arresting a 48-year-old man on suspicion of alleged theft from heritage and protected sites.

He was also arrested on suspicion of possession of explosives, firearms and ammunition, and police bailed him until November 14, so far without charge.

Hand grenades, rifles and mortar shells were among munitions seized.

Experts from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team later carried out controlled explosions of seized items at a Sandridge farm.

However when friends and family saw the raid of Alan Tissington’s wartime memorabilia featuring on television and splashed across national newspapers, they quickly rallied and offered their support.

Alan has told the Herts Advertiser that following legal advice, he is unable to comment on the raid.

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However, he has granted this paper permission to reprint comments on his, now private, Facebook account.

On it, he has posted a “massive thank you to all who have sent kind words and well wishes”.

He added: “I am passionate about military history and militaria, which started at the age of seven.

“I am devastated that part of my life’s work has now been destroyed, bearing in mind that the vast majority was purchased at respected militaria fairs and [on] eBay.”

And despite the widespread media interest as a result of the raid Alan has thanked the Herts Police, “who have been absolutely amazing to myself and my family at this very stressful time”.

Scores of comments posted on his Facebook account reflect widespread sympathy for Alan, who is described as a “nice bloke” who did not deserve to go through such an ordeal.

One man said: “I know that it’s a great passion of yours and feel so sorry for you losing so many things that are irreplaceable.”

Several said they were “gutted”, shocked and deeply saddened his collection had been taken, and urged him to stay strong.

Another friend said: “Appalled at how someone can be treated, who holds such a passion for keeping our history alive 100 years on.

“Presumably the Imperial War Museum will be targeted next.”

First and Second World War artefacts and munitions have been seized in several places including Milton Keynes following the St Albans raid.