The world’s strangest thefts

Brian John Hindmarsh, the 21-year old charged by police with the alleged theft of a Nobel Peace Prize and a lock of Admiral Lord Collingwood’s hair from the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House on Fernwood Road, did not enter a plea in court yesterday for the alleged robbery. The case will now be transferred to Newcastle Crown Court.

Regardless of the outcome of the case, whoever broke into the Mansion House  may not have realised at the time their £150,000-worth of loot was particularly unusual.

Yet whoever was responsible was not alone in taking unusual items, ostensibly with the aim of selling them on for monetary gain. Here are the four strangest thefts JesmondLocal have seen documented – some of which rival the mayoral (and unsellable) bounty.

£13,600-worth of Nutella


5 metric tons of Nutella were taken from a trailer parked in the German town of Bad Hersfeld on April 8th, according to a report by the AP. Local police are linking the crime to another, carried out by a gang recently, which involved a large amount of energy drinks being stolen.

300 300lb manhole covers

Jeffrey Kaye/Moving Millions

Jeffrey Kaye/Moving Millions

Scrap metal prices have risen significantly in recent years, but were high enough in July 1990 to make the systematic theft of 300 metal manhole covers economical. ‘The Manhole Men’, as the gang responsible were called, took the covers from streets in Los Angeles, California, and sold them to scrap metal dealers for $6 per cover.

A beach

Jamaica’s hospitality industry is a cut-throat world. Island living, paradisiacal weather and the need to meet holiday brochures’ demands for pristine white beaches means that top-quality sand can be in high demand. Coral Spring beach, on the north of the island, boasted some of the best. Until thieves started smuggling it away in trucks, a load at a time. Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding called for forensic tests on sand across the island to discover each grain’s provenance.

A 10-ton bridge


The term ‘daylight robbery’ has never been more apposite. Metal thieves in Slavkov in the Czech Republic managed to make away with a 10-ton footbridge and 650ft of railway track by convincing guards they had permission (and paperwork) from the requisite authorities.