Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stolen Redbourn milestones found after public tip-offs

Punch Bowl milestone
Image caption The Punch Bowl stone was found dumped in Hemel Hempstead three years after it was taken

Two 18th Century milestones stolen three years apart in Hertfordshire have been found in two separate locations on the same day, police said.

The Punch Bowl stone on the A5183 St Albans Road was stolen in August 2012.

A second stone was taken from opposite the Chequers pub, a mile further down the road near Redbourn, last month.

Officers responding to reports it was now in Hemel Hempstead realised it was actually the first stone. The second was found hours later in Kings Langley.

Hertfordshire Police said the first stone, which is 5ft 8ins (1.7m) tall and had stood close to the Punch Bowl Lane turning on Watling Street, was discovered by a member of the public in Dodds Lane on Friday morning.

The second, which was taken between 15 and 27 March, was found just over six miles away in Barnes Lane, Kings Langley, again by a member of the public.

A police spokesman said both would be "placed back in their rightful place at some point in the future".

'Happy outcome'

Sgt Tom Fisher said the first stone had probably been discarded after a police appeal about the second theft.

"I suspect someone had it in their garden, saw the press [appeal] and probably thought 'I'm going to be in a bit of trouble' and dumped it to try and get rid of the evidence," he said.

The force has asked for anyone who may have been in the areas where the stones were recovered to come forward if they had seen anything suspicious.

Image copyright Issued by Herts Police
Image caption The second stone was taken from opposite the Chequers pub near Redbourn
Image copyright Sandy Ross
Image caption Both stones were recovered on the same day

Local historian Sandy Ross said the milestones between St Albans and Redbourn had been erected from 1722 onwards as a requirement of the Dunstable - St Albans - London Turnpike Act of Parliament.

This allowed a private business to repair the roads but to make a charge to users based on the distance travelled.

Mr Ross, who reported both thefts to police, called the finds a "happy outcome for our local heritage".

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