Wiltshire, UK - A bronze group of two pigs on a domed disc, made by local sculptor Richard Cowdy in 1979 to illustrate the link between the town and the Harris Bacon company whose factories dominated the centre of Calne until their demise and demolition in the mid 1980s, and located outside Corals in Phelps Parade, Calne, was stolen sometime on the 1st or 2nd October.
A police appeal has resulted in the porkers being returned by Ronsons Reclaim in Gloucestershire. Unaware of the theft the company paid £850, but photographed the seller and his registration number which resulted in the arrest of a 17-year-old youth after David Jones of Ronsons heard about the theft and called the mayor of Calne, Councillor Tony Trotman, who alerted police.
Officers picked up the sculptural swine from the Ronson Gallery, on Tewkesbury Road, Longford and it was returned to Calne where it will be placed back on the High Street as soon as some minor damage to the domed base is repaired.
Mr Jones told the Cheltenham News: "I had bought four bronze lions a few days before and I wanted it in a display with the lions - - I am really into bronze animals at the moment. We are out of pocket but we are just happy we have found something of importance to Wiltshire. We are pleased to have saved the bacon of the pig from the melt, which is where it probably would have ended up. It would have cost a fortune to be replaced."
Coun Trotman revealed there was fury in the town of Calne when the artful hogs, a tribute to the 208-year Harris factory which employed around 1,500 people when it closed, disappeared. He thanked Mr Jones and described him as a "very honest dealer". When Mr Jones contacted him, the councillor added: "It was an absolute relief. It was remarkable. We would have thought it would be melted down." He said that the Lions Group of Calne had plans to spend thousands of pounds replacing the sculpture, if it had not been returned.
DC Jo Chesshire, from the Chippenham Community Tasking Team, said she hoped the people of Calne would be pleased to see the metal piggies back in their rightful home shortly. She said: "I know people in the area were sad to hear of this theft and I'm pleased to be able to report that the statue has been recovered and will be handed back to Calne Town Council. "This incident proves the importance of the media in helping publicise appeals."
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Ronson Reclaim and Lichen Garden Antiques support the Salvo Code for good practice in stock purchasing.
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Story Type: News