Search continues nationwide for owners of recovered memorial plaque
23 February 2012
POLICE in Sandwell are working with churches and museums across the country to find the rightful owners of a memorial plaque recovered earlier this month.
Officers from Sandwell Police's metal theft team seized the plaque from a house in Wednesbury after the tenants had been evicted.
Police launched an appeal for information to find the owners, or location that the plaque had originated from, on February 9 and are now working with a number of organisations who have offered fresh information
Police constable Karn Sharma, from Sandwell Metal Theft Team, said: "Whilst we have no confirmed owner as yet we have had a lot of information come in as a result of the appeal.
"Lots of people have shown great community support and we have several new lines of enquiry.
"A vicar from Cheltenham is trawling through churches and graveyards as there is a link to the Welch family, who are named on the plaque, in that area.
"Museum curators from as far afield as Scotland and Essex have also offered information to assist us, as have charities involved with the restoration and documentation of war memorials.
"We thank everyone for their help so far and continue to appeal to anyone who knows where this plaque originated from to get in touch."
The 4' by 2' plaque dates back to the early nineteenth century and commemorates the memory of the 'Welch' family, some of whom died in the service for their country.
PC Sharma added: "We believe that it may have been stolen and it is possible that it has great sentimental value to the descendants of the soldiers it commemorates. It appears that it could well have come from the inside of a parish church or a community building.
"We hope that someone may know something that will help us return it to its original location."
Sandwell Police created a dedicated metal theft team in 2011 to tackle the issue of the theft of high-value metals across the borough, to work solely on information and initiatives linked to Operation Steel - the force operation aimed to reduce metal theft and related crimes across the West Midlands.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sandwell Metal Theft Team on 0345 113 5000 or information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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