Prize-winning cheese stolen from Somerset show

A prize-winning Cheddar Image copyright Handout
Image caption A £500 reward has been offered for the return of prize-winning cheeses from a Somerset manufacturer

A thief stole thousands of pounds worth of prize-winning cheese from an agricultural show.

Eleven blocks of Cheddar, each weighing about 20kg, were taken from the Yeovil Show at the weekend.

A £500 reward has been offered by one cheesemaker for the safe return of his two winning cheeses.

Show organisers said the most valuable cheese stolen was mysteriously returned to the site on Tuesday.

Event director Sam Mackenzie-Green said her team was "shocked" to discover two separate thefts during Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

She said "nothing like this has ever happened before" but added they had a "strong lead" as to who the culprit may be.

'Beggars belief'

"It's such a mean thing to do," she added.

"It's a great disappointment and next year we will absolutely improve security by moving the cheeses to a secure unit overnight."

Richard Clothier from Somerset-based Wyke Farms saw his champion and reserve champion blocks, or truckles, stolen overnight on Saturday.

Image copyright Yeovil Show
Image caption This cloth-bound cheese was stolen and then mysteriously returned on Tuesday
Image copyright Yeovil Show
Image caption The Yeovil Show attracted about 23,000 visitors over Saturday and Sunday

He said it "beggars belief" the two blocks, which each weighed the same as a bag of cement, could have been stolen. He has offered a £500 reward for their safe return.

"One of my ancestors had his cheese stolen in 1879, but it has not happened to me and I've certainly never heard of thefts like this from a show," he said.

"It's such a shame for the team to lose the cheese and the certificate to reward their work."

Avon and Somerset police confirmed they were investigating the theft and inquiries were "ongoing".

The Yeovil Show began in the 19th century. It closed in the 1960s but was revived last year.

The show attracted 23,000 visitors over Saturday and Sunday with the prize Cheddar marquee one of the key attractions.

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