28 August, 2014
Some of motorsport's most invaluable trophies were stolen from Solihull's National Motorcycle Museum overnight on Wednesday.
Museum officials are offering a £20,000 reward for any information which results in their safe return.
The thieves' destructive break-in also caused thousands of pounds worth of damage including smashed windows and cabinets.
Thankfully they were unable to get into the Coventry Road museum's main premises, instead targeting a few cabinets in the shop and museum foyer.
West Midlands Police's forensic teams are investigating.
What was taken?
World championship trophies, TT replicas and other objects of vast historic importance have been stolen.
Several of them have scant value in terms of scrap metal meltdown, but museum officials stress they simply cannot be replaced as they feature strongly in the UK's motorcycling heritage.
They are currently cataloguing an inventory of missing items.
Museum director James Hewing says he cannot place a price on the stolen items, with most of them irreplaceable.
He says museum staff are "desperate" for the trophies' swift and safe return as the haul is "priceless" in UK motorcycle sport heritage.
Some of the sport's top personalities had either loaned or donated shields and cups to the attraction.
Staff believe burglars targeted silver trophies for meltdown, with the majority of them engraved with owners' details.
Witness to the carnage
One of the first people who saw the ransacked museum - described as a "rough job" by Mr Hewing - was Adrian Rogers.
The 21st-Century Glaziers' owner arrived shortly after midnight for repairs.
He boarded up the entry panels destroyed by raiders and tweeted pictures of the damage in the hope it will prompt the haul's return.
Mr Rogers says he feels for the "distraught" museum staff.
Potted museum history
The museum opened in 1984.
In September 2003 a large blaze ravaged vast sections of the attraction, destroying 380 bikes. Many were re-built and re-exhibited, however, and the museum opened its doors to the public again in December 2004 following a £20 million revamp.
It now hosts around 850 classic motorcycles.
Who to call
If you saw anything on the night or know anything about this crime you can ring Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111 or contact the West Midlands Police or the National Motorcycle Museum on 01675 443311 or e-mail Museum Director James Hewing firstname.lastname@example.org