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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 June 2007, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Burglary at Kipling's former home
Stolen Tiffany lamps
Both table lamps had distinctive stained glass shades
Two Tiffany lamps worth tens of thousands of pounds have been stolen from a former home of Rudyard Kipling.

Bateman's, a 17th Century Jacobean property run by the National Trust, was hit by burglars in the early hours.

Police in East Sussex said the two lamps could have been stolen to order. Nothing else was taken in the break-in.

A National Trust spokesman said Kipling bought the lamps in the 1890s. "It's because of their association with him that they're valuable to us," he said.

A burglar alarm linked to a security centre was activated at the property, in Burwash, near Heathfield, at about 0200 BST on Saturday.

Police said entry had been gained through a downstairs window.

It's obviously upsetting because these items are there for the public to enjoy
Jonathan Light, National Trust

Det Insp Paul Phelps said: "One of our lines of inquiry is that the lamps were specifically targeted, but it could also be that the offenders grabbed what they could when the alarms sounded.

"We would appeal to people within the antiquities market to be aware that these lamps have been stolen."

Bateman's was closed to the public on Saturday morning while forensic examinations were carried out.

Jonathan Light, from the National Trust, said the 12 to 18in-tall (30-45cm) lamps had been on separate tables in a parlour room.

"It's obviously upsetting because these items are there for the public to enjoy, so it robs them as much as anything," he said.

The building was not covered by CCTV cameras, but Mr Light said there would have been security staff on site when the burglary happened.

A lamp similar to one of those stolen has an auction guide price of at least 5,000 on the Bonhams website.

Bateman's also houses the author's original illustrations for The Jungle Book.

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