Famous Paddington Bear statue stolen from Portobello Road shop

A Paddington Bear statue popular with tourists and children in Portobello Road has been swiped by thieves in broad daylight. 

The 4ft-high, 30kg statue of the fictional Peruvian animal clutching a jar of marmalade and a suitcase was stolen from its home outside the London Tree House gift and toy store in Notting Hill on Monday afternoon.

Schoolchildren are “distraught” by the theft of the bear, loved by residents and visitors alike, the shop’s owner Kenny Kaneko said. 

He has launched an appeal for the safe return of Paddington and put posters up outside his shop. He bought the rare Seventies statue on eBay eight years ago for a few hundred pounds, repainting its original colours and regularly repairing damage caused by the constant affection of passers-by who would pat it and treat it as a mascot for the famous market street. 

Kenny Kaneko runs the store from where the Paddington statue was stolen from

Mr Kaneko, 49, said: “I can’t believe no one saw anything. The road was busy with school kids and the last deliveries of the day and suddenly he’d just gone. It’s empty without him. The children used to pat him on the way to school, he was the same height as some of them, it’s a sad loss. He was the Portobello Market mascot.”

Mr Kaneko urged those responsible for the theft to “please look after this bear”. He speculated that someone mistaking it for a charity moneybox, or a collector, could have been responsible and is convinced more than one person was involved because of the bear’s weight and their getaway in a car. 

Paddington has enjoyed a huge renaissance since author Michael Bond’s books hit the big screen with the first of two movies in 2014.

Mr Kaneko, whose stock includes a range of Paddington merchandise, said: “It used to only be Americans and Australians who stopped to take their photo, now it’s European people too since the films.” 

He had met Mr Bond, who died earlier this year at 91, and said the author knew of his statue and thoroughly approved. 

Mr Kaneko has temporarily replaced the missing statue with a cardboard cut-out. “I have two MDF ex-cinema ones too, but they’re not the same — they can’t be hugged,” he said.  

A police statement said: “No arrests have been made. Officers have investigated all available lines of enquiry and at this time the investigation has concluded. If any further information comes to light, this will be investigated.”

Source : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/famous-paddington-bear-statue-stolen-from-portobello-road-shop-a3862736.html