NAZI war memorabilia has been snatched in a daylight raid on a museum.
Experts from the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum, in Washington, believe the theft of the Second World War items may have been carried out to order.
The Luftwaffe exhibits – including an Iron Cross and a pilot’s jacket worth more than £1,000 – were among artefacts taken from a display.
The sneak thief unscrewed the glass front and pocketed the haul, possibly in front of visitors mistakenly believing them to be staff.
They were discovered missing at about 5pm on Tuesday, but could have been taken any time from 10am last Friday.
Trustee Brian Dixon said: “There’s an eight-foot high fence that opens up on to a football pitch, and it’s possible that whoever did it had someone waiting there and threw the items over.
“The police came and dusted the cabinet, but all they found were the fingerprints of about 2,000 children.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.