Mill hit by raid

PUBLISHED: 11:45 01 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:52 10 June 2010

PREVIOUSLY flood-stricken Otterton Mill has been hit by more bad luck after thieves last weekend stole jewellery worth £20,000.

PREVIOUSLY flood-stricken Otterton Mill has been hit by more bad luck after thieves last weekend stole jewellery worth £20,000.Jewellers Zsuzsi Morrison and Steve Whitford have been left counting the cost of the break-in, because the pair have lost 'irreplaceable' work which was uninsured.Mill owner Caroline Spiller said stringent insurance rules meant the pair's work was not covered by insurance.Mrs Spiller said the jewellers would have to install a myriad of security measures, such as bars on the windows, to satisfy insurers' 'prohibitive' rules.The mill was targeted in the early hours of Sunday morning. The culprit forced their way in through the mill door using a crowbar.Detective Sergeant Pete Jones, from Exmouth CID, said the force was working closely with officers in the Avon and Somerset area, after a similar crime was committed there.He said although the crimes were not thought to be linked, the police were keeping an open mind.DS Jones said forensic officers had examined the gallery and workshop and were trying to establish the exact time the offence was committed.Sidmouth artist Zsuzsi Morrison lost 30 piece of 'irreplaceable' work worth £5,000 during the break-in, in the early hours of Sunday morning. The stolen intricate gold and silver enamel rings had taken months to 'painstakingly' complete and were on display in a gallery at the tourist attraction. The theft has deprived Zsuzsi of a third of her work which was to be displayed at a forthcoming exhibition.She said: "It's gutting and I'm angry. "It's the time that you can't get back and the designs - they are produced one by one. "Each piece has very intricate enamelling, is incredibly recognisable, individual and irreplaceable - there won't be another one like it. "This isn't just a load of jewellery that has been stolen, it's my livelihood as an artist and is a big blow." Steve Whitford's workshop was almost stripped bare in the raid.He said it will take months to replenish the stolen stock worth £15,000 - which took seven years to build up.The robbery is a second blow to Mr Whitford. He was forced to close his workshop for three months at the end of last year because of floodwater.


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