RAIDERS escaped with an entire set of giant ceramic chess pieces in an unusual burglary victims believe must have been pre-planned and carried out to order.
The 32 heavy pieces disappeared from the garden in Elm Crescent, Ealing Common, along with a white wooden bench and a resin dragon while Rachel Alexander and her partner Jacqui were sleeping.
Mrs Alexander said the crime could not have been committed by opportunists because burglars would have needed a large vehicle carry the stolen objects away in the early hours of Wednesday morning last week (14).
The couple are asking the public to keep an eye out for the unique chess pieces and are offering a reward for their safe return.
The 51-year-old, said: “I was in complete and utter shock. I was speechless that anybody would’ve taken them. We looked to see if we can replace them but we can’t.
“We’re quite devastated. There’s the violation of someone coming onto your property and that now I’m looking down the garden at an empty chess board.
“It must’ve taken a considerable effort. The king is about two foot tall and you can’t pick it up with one hand. You can’t stack them either so they must’ve had a big vehicle.”
The couple have owned the stolen items for about 10 years but only set up the chess pieces a year ago after getting a new board, which is set into the ground. The ceramic pieces cost about £600 to £700 from a garden centre. The bench is worth about £500 and the dragon about £100.
Ms Alexander said the stolen objects could not be seen from the street and had believed they were well protected. The garden backs onto the grounds of All Saints Church and she thinks the raiders must have launched their crime from there.
The burglary took place between about 12am and 8am on Wednesday last week.
Police have not made any arrests and are urging people to call them on 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if they saw anything suspicious.