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Christmas burglary victim pleads: ‘Return unique musical instruments’

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 30 December 2019

James Larcombe's son Dominic plays the hurdy-gurdy that has been stolen. Picture: James Larcombe

James Larcombe's son Dominic plays the hurdy-gurdy that has been stolen. Picture: James Larcombe

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A Muswell Hill hill music software engineer is appealing for thieves who stole some unique instruments from his home in a pre-Christmas burglary to return them.

James Larcombe's stolen Mengascini melodeon. Picture: James LarcombeJames Larcombe's stolen Mengascini melodeon. Picture: James Larcombe

James Larcombe's Alexandra Road home was burgled on December 22, and the home invaders made off with, a huge number of his family's possessions including a TV, bikes and jewellery. But in particular, it is three hard-to-replace instruments that he is keen to get back.

The first is a guitar shaped hurdy-gurdy - a small string instrument - bearing the the inscription "Richard Smith #3, Bookham, Surrey, 1980" on the inside of the key box, the second is a melodeon manufactured by Mengascini. That has a red lining and two leather straps. The family also lost a second melodeon which James thinks dates back to the 1940s. It is a pressed wood Hohner C/F melodeon, with a leather strap.

A melodeon is a kind of accordion.

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James said: "They're treasured possessions really, no two instruments are ever quite alike and these ones are particularly unique and valuable to me. The gurdy in particular is going to be very difficult for the thieves to sell - the handle isn't in the case, so it's unplayable as is."

Hampstead-raised musician Francesca Carpos, who had instruments stolen from Finchley in November, got in touch with this newspaper through James to query whether the incidents were linked.

The former Hampstead School pupil said she had two Fox-made bassoons stolen - a 601 bassoon serial 25482 is tiger striped in a compact black rectangle case with bright blue velvet lining and a second bassoon is a black plastic one scratched with 'Kilburn School' taken in a black rucksack gig bag.

She said: "As James will also tell you, no insurance money can ever buy a replacement for the special relationship one builds with one's instrument."

The ornate head of James Larcombe's hurdy-gurdy. Picture: James LarcombeThe ornate head of James Larcombe's hurdy-gurdy. Picture: James Larcombe

If you can help return James' instruments or if anyone offers them to you for sale, contact james@starsinbattledress.com


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