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Suspected gun thief due in court today

PUBLISHED: 09:20 04 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:57 03 March 2010

A MAN charged in connection with the theft of seven guns, a sword and two old grenades from Felixstowe's historic Landguard Fort was due to appear in court today .

A MAN charged in connection with the theft of seven guns, a sword and two old grenades from Felixstowe's historic Landguard Fort was due to appear in court today .

Joe James, 21, of Watford, is accused of burglary at the fort, after being arrested by Hertfordshire police acting on information provided by Suffolk officers.

He will appear before South-East Suffolk Magistrates sitting at Ipswich.

The allegation is connected with a break-in at the monument – the last place England was invaded by a foreign force – on January 18-19 this year.

Weapons alleged to have been stolen from the fort overlooking Harwich Harbour had been deactivated and could not be used in their present state.

The guns all dated back to the 1940s and were unlikely to be able to be used without extensive and complicated work because of their age and condition.

The items were kept in exhibitions and a store room at the fort, which is owned by English Heritage but run by the Landguard Fort Trust.

They included four Enfield rifles, including two .303s, and a Bren gun, all from the 1940s, and a Sten gun and a Bardan rifle had been stolen.

In addition, a Royal Artillery sword, two Mills bomb grenades, also deactivated, and several bayonets and other knives were missing.

Trustees have been gradually collecting exhibits to be used in displays and dioramas as they open up more and more of the fort to the public.

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