POLICE have recovered plaques believed to be stolen from the war memorial in Ilfracombe following information from members of the public.

Sector Inspector Rich Preston said: “On Thursday, January 11, we were notified of the removal and theft of six bronze plaques from the War Memorial, Church Street, Ilfracombe.

“These appear to have been stolen sometime between 2.30pm on Wednesday, January 10 and 11.30am on Thursday, January 11.

“These bronze plaques detailed both the names of those military personnel that lost their lives in the conflict of war 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 and also had commemorative inscriptions with which to honour the fallen.  

“We began to make enquiries in the local area and at around 12.45pm a call was received from a member of the public who believed they had seen the plaques in Bideford.”

“Insp Preston continued: “Understandably the community impact and repercussions of such an act required immediate action, and I would like to reassure the local community that upon our response we have now located and recovered the plaques.”

Three local men were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and dealing in tainted cultural objects.

A 51-year-old man has been released on police bail until January 18.

Two men aged 39 and 43 remain in police custody.

Anyone with information which may assist the police investigation is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log 290 of 11 January.

Information can also be passed anonymously through CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website.