A GROUP of patriotic craftswomen have been left “shocked and saddened” that their local Jubilee gesture has been ruined by thieves.

Members of Durham Merryoaks Women’s Institute (WI) are now appealing for the return of three missing knitted ‘toppers’ produced for display round the district to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

As a protective move they have now reluctantly removed three further toppers to prevent them also being stolen.

The group produced the six toppers to display in the area in response to an approach by Neville’s Cross Parish Council.

But they were dismayed to discover those on show in Dickens Wynd, at the entrance to the Merryoaks estate, off the A167, another near the Duke of Wellington pub, on Lowes Barn Bank, and a third, at the bottom of the Avenue, near the foot of South Street, were all stolen.

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WI member Sarah Sedgewick said: “We were shocked and saddened by this and have subsequently taken down the others in case they were stolen.”

She said the three “intact” toppers were at Relly Peth entrance on Neville’s Cross Bank, at St Cuthbert’s Hospice entrance, in Merryoaks, and next to a letting agency shop near to the entrance to Redhills.

“You can imagine how much work went into these and the parish council provided all the wool for us.

“If anyone can help us to get them back, it would be great.”

She hoped other bunting and decorations put up for the Jubilee, but remaining in place opposite St John’s Church, in Neville’s Cross, would remain unaffected for a local Ecofest celebration.

If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the disappeared decorations they can contact Mrs Sedgewick, via r.s.sedgewick@gmail.com, while she and other members of the WI group would be even happier if they were returned intact.

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