Tower of London poppies targeted by thieves, says artist

Paul Cummins reveals that thieves tried to break into lorries transporting the ceramic poppies

Volunteers begin removing the Tower of London poppies
(Image credit: Carl Court/Getty )

Thieves have tried to steal the Tower of London ceramic poppies, according to the artist behind the display.

More than five million people travelled to the Tower of London to see the 888,246 handmade poppies, each representing a British or Commonwealth soldier who died during World War One.

They are currently being removed in order to be sent to members of the public who have paid £25 per poppy, with the £15m proceeds due to be shared between six service charities including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.

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But Paul Cummins, the artist behind the installation, entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, said attempts had been made to steal the poppies while they were being transported.

"I'm not happy," he said. "It's disrespectful to the people who bought them and made them and to the people they represent.

"When they were taken out of the moat, people were breaking into the lorries to try and get them. People want them but we're not making any more because it would be disrespectful to the people that died."

According to The Independent, ebay has confirmed that it will not allow any of the ceramic poppies to be sold through its site.

Since 12 November, volunteers have been removing around 75,000 poppies from the moat each day. They are being sent to a distribution centre in Alfreton, Derbyshire, to be cleaned and packaged, with around 40,000 already posted out.

A spokesman for the Tower of London said: "We have received crime prevention advice from the police and all appropriate security measures have been in place throughout the project to ensure the safe delivery of the poppies to their new owners.

"An attempt was made to break into empty vehicles at a rest stop on their way to London. A number of other vehicles at the rest stop were targeted in the same way. The police have been informed."

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