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At around 2am on the morning of Saturday, February 7, six to eight men broke through a fire exit at the Festival Hall and overcame a security guard with a knife and the threat of a gun. Entering the Rose Room, they smashed the glass display counters of Howards Jewellers of Stratford-upon-Avon and removed a safe on a sack trolley. More than 100 pieces of antique jewellery were taken.

The police and organiser Caroline Penman were called and on site within 20 minutes, with interviews conducted with a Hampshire CID officer the following morning. The fair was open for business as planned at 10.30am, although the Rose Room was not accessible until noon when the broken glass was removed and the stands rearranged.

A full list of items stolen will shortly be available from Hampshire Constabulary. Any information should be directed to WDC Lyn Cussons, quoting crime number OP/159504.