An artist has appealed for the return of “irreplaceable” sculptures stolen from a museum exhibition commemorating the Battle of the Somme.

A thief swiped two lead artworks, which formed part of Rob Miller’s Ballistic Baby, Dead Bells, Petards installation at the Honeywood Museum in Carshalton.

The artist has removed his remaining works from the Reflections on the Somme exhibition after the bomb-shaped sculptures were removed from beneath protective plastic covers between July 16 and July 20.

Police are investigating the theft and believe whoever stole the artworks could try to sell them.  

Mr Miller said: “I am dismayed given the context of the exhibition as a commemoration of the sacrifices made during the battle of the Somme that work could be stolen during the exhibition. I expressly made these sculptures available on a not-for-sale basis, as they form part of my archive of early works.

“Both works have never previously been exhibited and are irreplaceable, and I would appeal for their safe and undamaged return.”

He added: “I am also deeply grateful to Honeywood for their support and help during this time, and regret that I have had to remove the remaining works as a precaution.”

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The sculptures were stolen from the Honeywood Museum in Carshalton

Reflections on the Somme, which opened on June 22 and is due to run until July 31, brings together work by 11 artists to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Somme.

Madeline Barratt, head of libraries, heritage and arts at Sutton Council, which runs the Honeywood Museum, said: “We are very sad that art designed to commemorate the tremendous human sacrifice at the Battle of the Somme exactly 100 years ago has been stolen from the Honeywood Museum.

“We would ask that anyone who knows anything about the theft of these two items contacts the police so that they can be returned to their sculptor.”

Anyone with information or who is offered the sculptures for sale is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.