Children and staff at North Tyneside General Hospital have been left heartbroken after callous thieves stole a treasured signed Newcastle United shirt from their ward.
The 2002 shirt, signed by Alan Shearer, the late Bobby Robson and other members of the team, was taken from its frame from the play room in the Children’s Ward.
The theft is believed to have taken place sometime between Monday 15 April and Wednesday 17 April.
Newcastle United has a long-standing relationship with the ward, run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
In 2002, Alan Shearer opened the refurbished ward and players regularly come to the hospital at Christmas to give presents to the young patients.
– A Newcastle United spokesman
“Newcastle United were very disappointed to hear the news that a signed shirt has been stolen from the Children’s Ward at North Tyneside hospital and would appeal for its return at the earliest opportunity.
“We’re told the children love looking at the shirt and often try to identify the names of the players, such as Alan Shearer and Shay Given, so it’s really a very callous act by whoever was responsible for this thoughtless and mindless theft.”
– Carole Clayton, ward manager
“We just can’t believe that someone would stoop so low. The staff and children are heartbroken and really angry and upset.
“We were so pleased that the shirt was donated to the ward and it has given pleasure to the thousands of families who have used the ward over the last 11 years - for someone to take this just beggars belief.
“We hope that someone somewhere has information about the shirt as we would really like it to be returned."
– PC Andy Wait
"This shirt was very popular with the children on the ward and we are appealing for the public's help to identify the heartless thief who stole it.
"We are asking anyone who saw anything suspicious at around that time, or who is offered the shirt for sale, to contact police on 101 ext 69191, or ring the independent charity Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."