Sheffield museum hit by thefts and vandalism for the fourth time in as many weeks
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Staff and volunteers at the National Emergency Services Museum have been left devastated after thieves broke into the back yard of the museum on West Bar, stealing thousands of pounds worth of equipment and damaging vehicles.
Last week a car ploughed into the front of the museum after being involved in an incident on West Bar roundabout, causing damage to doors and to a number of exhibits. A window on the front of the 120-year old building was also broken in an act of vandalism last month.
And on March 14, two men broke into the back yard of the museum stealing thousands of pounds worth of equipment and causing damage to vehicles.
On top of the crimes, the coronavirus crisis is also putting the museum’s future in jeopardy.
Helen Shepherd, media relations officer, said: “It really has been an unbelievable month for us, I’ve never witnessed anything quite like it.”
The flurry of attacks follows on from an incident at the end of last year when one of the museum’s storage units was targeted and damage caused to more than 20 vehicles.
Matthew Wakefield, the attraction’s chief executive, said: “This series of incidents is absolutely unprecedented for us – in 16 years of being associated with the museum, I have never experienced anything like it.
“We’re a small team of staff and volunteers and it’s left us deeply upset and absolutely floored.
“In addition, the coronavirus pandemic means there is a very strong likelihood that we will have to close the museum if the government advises us to do so. If that happens, we may have no money coming in at all and that will put us under even more pressure.
“So this is proving to be a very, very difficult time for us which is why we are appealing to the public to help us.”
The museum has more than one million items in its archives and keeps over 40 vehicles on site, including a 47-foot lifeboat.