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Gang pose as workmen... to steal iconic red phone box from village

They are a reminder of another era.

Once there were thousands of them all over our streets.

Now a rarity in urban areas they still add a touch of nostalgia to country villages.

A much-loved icon they contribute to the character of many historical locations.

But villagers have been left stunned by the theft of a red phone box in Chelford, Cheshire.

The box was hoisted out of the ground by a brazen gang posing as workmen.

Now police have issued a CCTV image of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the theft.

The box was made from cast-iron and designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

Gang pose as workmen... to steal iconic red phone box from village

In a statement Cheshire Constabulary said: "Sometime between 2.30pm and 3pm on 13 July an old style red phone box was removed from a garden in Chelford Road. The box belongs to Chelford Parish Council and no one had given permission for it to be removed.

"A white Ford transit van was seen dropping off a skip and then and three men using a digger then removed the box and asked a member of public to guard the live electric cables which had been exposed while they contacted the energy network to make it safe. The men never returned."

PC John Milman said: “We’ve been making a number of enquiries in the area and are keen to speak to anyone who recognises the man in this image as he may be able to help us with our enquiries. I’d also appeal for the man to come forward to assist us with our investigation.”

Anyone with information should contact Cheshire police on 101 quoting IML 1036485.

Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

In March this year nearly 600 iconic red phone boxes were put up for sale across Scotland- with local communities able to snap one up for just £1.

The world-famous BT kiosks have been in seemingly terminal decline with the rise of mobile phones.

More then 1,500 boxes across the UK have been taken on by communities for just £1 each through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk programme.

While some now hold life-saving equipment like defibrillators, others have become book exchanges, mini history museums to 'art galleries'

In March 2006, as part of a competition organised by the Design Museum and BBC Television to find Britain's favourite design icon since 1900, the Telephone Box was placed in the top ten by the British public.

A spokeswoman for Chelford Parish Council declined to comment at this stage.

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