Heartless yobs broke into Heage Windmill through a trap door last night and stole a 150-year-old ‘almost irreplaceable’ item which could be used as a ‘deadly weapon’.
The Heage Windmill Society said it was ‘horrified’ to find offenders had broken into the ‘much-loved’ 220-year-old Grade II listed six sail windmill.
The society said a door had been forced open and considerable damage caused inside including to displays which explain the history of the mill.
A spokesman for the society said: “Access to this area had been gained through a trap door in the floor of the mill used to provide additional ventilation. An earlier attempt to force the East door had obviously failed - so they really wanted to gain access.
“Our important weather station - used to determine if conditions are suitable for milling - was broken.
“Most distressing is the theft of a 150-year-old mill bill, used to sharpen the millstones, which was already attached to the structure by a chain, since these are almost irreplaceable. It is also, unfortunately, a potential deadly weapon - one reason why it was chained down.
“The wanton nature of the culprits was demonstrated when we found they had even scrawled in the visitor book.”
The mill has previously been subjected to external damage to the sails - costing about £10,000 each.
The society says it is taking further steps to secure the property.
The mill will open as normal on Saturday at 11am. And on Sunday, at around 11am, a number of vintage American cars and trucks will be on show.