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Auctioneer devastated as thieves flee with lots worth £1,000 in Weymouth raid
AUCTIONEER Michael Keebles is counting the cost after thieves fled with lots worth £1,000 from a raid in Weymouth.
Mr Keeble stored the items overnight on Friday and found some 38 lots – including gold watches and diamond rings – gone as well as his own auction gear.
He went ahead with the Keebles Auction House sale and has thanked people for their support but faces a £1,000 compensation bill to owners of the stolen items.
Mr Keeble said: “It has shaken me up a great deal. I feel very sad. It is one of those of things where the community all get involved and so I feel sad for them too.”
Mr Keeble, who has run the family business since October 2010, paid tribute to vendors, customers and friends who helped him stage the auction with the remaining lots despite the raid.
He added: “Everyone has been very supportive.
“People say that they will still put items in for future auctions.
“Thanks to everyone for all of their support and community spirit. Everyone rallied around and we kept it running.”
Mr Keeble stored the items at the hall on Friday and found them gone at 6.15am the next morning.
Thieves had broken through double doors to get into the hall.
“I went inside the room and saw the chippings on the floor and beading taken off the side of the door.
“I rushed in and saw it had been turned over and items had been taken.”
Items stolen included jewellery, watches, boxed railway locomotives, porcelain and clocks. Mr Keeble’s own diamond and gold testers were also stolen along with his scales, bidding cards and digital camera.
He said: “I have never had anything stolen before. Even at the sales with people looking around.”
He added that other auction houses in Dorset had fallen victim to thefts recently.
Mr Keeble urged anybody who saw anything at the hall, has information or is offered any suspect items to buy to contact the police.
Mr Keeble left the hall at around 8pm on Friday night and the items were stolen by 6.15am.
Dorset Police confirmed that they are investigating the break-in. Witnesses and anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101.