Thieves Vandalise Southsea's D-Day Museum

Thieves have smashed their way into Southsea's D-Day Museum and stolen money donated to the Poppy Appeal.

The museum had to cancel its relaunch, which was due to be attended by veterans and local dignitaries, following the overnight break-in during which Poppy Appeal cash was also stolen.

Lee Hunt, Portsmouth City Council Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:

''We can't quite believe we're having to cancel this morning's grand opening of the D-Day Museum, but a break-in and act of vandalism has forced us to postpone.

''It's horrendous to report but the spectacular, brand new frontage has been smashed, and Poppy Appeal donation money stolen.

''It looks as though something like a breeze block has been thrown at the window to gain access and money from donations stolen.

''This is really upsetting for everyone involved getting the museum ready in time for half-term and for Remembrance Day.

''We're saddened to disappoint our veterans and visitors who were due to attend today.

''But this will not deter us. We'll repair the damage, we'll do everything we can to catch those responsible, and we will have our fantastic opening as soon as possible.''

D-Day Museum Southsea

A Hampshire Police spokesman said two men were seen leaving the museum in a red hatchback car.

The first is described as white, in his 20s, 5ft 6in to 5ft 7in, and of skinny build. He was wearing dark clothing.

The second is described as white, also in his 20s and of skinny build. He too was wearing dark clothing.

The spokesman said:

''Police are following several leads to find suspects linked to a burglary at the D-Day Museum in Southsea.

''Officers were called shortly before 1am this morning (Tuesday October 30th) to the building on Clarence Esplanade.

''A concrete block had been used to break a window before a box containing charity donations was stolen.

''Two men were seen near the museum at the time.

''It's believed the men left the scene in a small red hatchback car. Police are making a range of inquiries to trace this vehicle.

''Specialist officers are conducting a forensic examination of the scene for evidence.''