RAIDERS have broken into an historic castle in Northumberland and flooded its interior.
Staff from English Heritage are now working flat out to clear up the damage, at Aydon Castle, in Corbridge, in time for what was expected to be a busy Jubilee weekend.
The burglary at the 13th century property happened overnight on Sunday.
The offenders cut their way through a padlock on the gates of the grand manor house. Once inside the grounds, they targeted the gift shop where they turned on the taps. They then left with cash and stock, leaving the water running.
Police are now appealing for witnesses to the break in, which happened between 5pm on Sunday and 9am on Monday.
Officers are urging anyone who saw any suspicious activity around the castle to get in touch.
Acting Inspector Mick Stephenson, who covers Corbridge for Northumbria Police, said: “The burglars didn’t just break-in and steal items of from the castle shop, but they switched on the taps meaning it flooded and caused a substantial amount of damage.
“We’re carrying out extensive inquiries to apprehend those responsible and I would urge anyone who was in the area and saw anything out of the ordinary or has any information to contact us.”
Lynn Rylance, English Heritage’s area manager for the North East and Cumbria, said: “We are very disappointed by the break-in at Aydon Castle and we are helping Northumbria Police with their inquiries.
“We are working hard to clean up the damage and get the castle ready to welcome visitors this bank holiday weekend.” Tucked away just one mile out of Corbridge, Aydon Castle has been described as one of the finest and most unaltered examples of a 13th century English manor house.
Set in beautiful and secluded Northumberland woodland, it was originally built as an undefended residence, but almost immediately fortified on the outbreak of Anglo-Scottish warfare.
Nevertheless, it was pillaged and burned by the Scots in 1315, seized by English rebels two years later and again occupied by Scots in 1346.
The building never fully recovered from numerous battles over its ownership. Tremendous damage was caused when it fell into the hands of the Scots and it was left in ruins by the beginning of the Tudor age.
However, the Carnaby family restored the castle and the it is looked after now by English Heritage.
The striking castle was used as a backdrop in the film Elizabeth, starring Kate Blanchett and Christopher Eccleston.
Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 or alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
It’s one of the finest and most unaltered examples of a 13th century English manor house