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Sunday, 2 December, 2001, 17:52 GMT
Bell theft stops 'Oyez'
Town crier Peter Moore
The town crier promotes tourism and trade in London
London's town crier was silenced when a sneak thief stole his traditional brass bell.

Peter Moore was left clapperless as he gave directions to a foreign tourist on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Moore, who was in full regalia including tricorn hat and red waistcoat, placed the bell beside his feet on the steps of County Hall, Waterloo.

When he went to retrieve it, the town crier to the Mayor of London and the London boroughs discovered the bell had gone.

Peter Moore's bell was engraved
Peter Moore's bell was engraved
The bell was bought for 235 six years ago.

The 59-year-old was employed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone to promote tourism and trade in London.

He said the eight-inch brass bell was clearly identifiable as his name was engraved on one side.

Following the theft, he gave a statement to the Metropolitan Police and was forced to return home.

Mr Moore said: "I put the bell on the ground and was directing someone to Number 10 and the Houses of Parliament and within seconds it was gone.

"I didn't see who took it, but I would urge whoever has it in their possession to return it to me as soon as possible."

Replacement bell

He said: "I've been silenced and it's an essential item for my job. The bell has been all around the world with me and I need it to welcome people to our city and gain their attention.

"It has huge sentimental value and I can't quite believe it's gone."

Mr Moore is now to see what can be done to replace the bell if it can not be retrieved.

He said: "I need to go to the White Chapel Foundry first thing tomorrow morning in the hope they have a replacement.

"Should they not, I'll be in a lot of trouble."

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