Christmas surprise as stolen instruments are discovered

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THE theft of £27,000 worth of musical instruments and equipment left members of Leeds Symphony Orchestra extremely down-hearted just before Christmas, but in an surprising turn of events, everything has been totally recovered!

When the van containing all the orchestra’s percussion instruments, musical stands and scores, rostra, acessories and concert refreshments was stolen from an industrial estate in Yeadon, near Leeds, on December 2, just hours before the orchestra’s planned concert in King James’s School in Knaresborough, conductor, Martin Binks who is Knaresborough born and bred, thought that would be the last he or any of the musicians would see of any of it.

But to his absolute amazement, the entire lot has turned up undamaged in an industrial yard in Morecambe, Lancashire.

“Out of the blue, I received a phone call from Lancashire Police on the Sunday before Christmas,” said Martin.

“They told me that everything had been found dumped in the yard, which belonged to an engineering firm, and I could collect it.

“My heart sank when he said the word dumped as I thought everything would be broken up and ruined, but no, astonishingly, everything had obviously been carefully unloaded and placed in the yard. Even the covers were still on the two kettle drums, each of which is worth £3,500, all the other instruments were uncompletely undamaged, the music was a touch damp because it had rained in the night but the stands and rostra were absolutely fine.

“Even the wine and orange juice and the glasses for the refreshments we had bought for the King James’s concert were all there and untouched.”

Martin said the police thought the thieves only wanted the van, and that having unloaded all the musical equipment, they then stole three tonnes of copper piping and sheeting from the yard, and used the van to take the haul over the Irish Sea to Belfast and the Irish Republic.

“Unfortunately, the owner of the van hasn’t recovered his vehicle but we have now got everything for the orchestra back in Leeds and after drying out some of the music, have been able to get back to rehearsals.

“We were also able to claim for consequential loss on the insurance, too,” added Martin.

The orchestra is now set to play King James’s School on Saturday, February 25.