Couple left 'horrified' after £700 insect sculpture theft

Suspect of praying mantis theft from Interiors of Ely

This man was pictured leaving Interiors of Ely with a praying mantis sculpture (inset) made by artist Yvette Cobley. - Credit: Lester and Yvette Cobley/Interiors of Ely

The husband of an artist whose sculpture valued at nearly £700 was stolen says he is “horrified” by what has happened. 

Yvette Cobley created a large praying mantis insect inside a large glass dome to sell at Interiors of Ely. 

Lester, Yvette’s husband, said: “She created this out of clay and made a sculpture set on a wooden base with a glass dome over it. 

“Interiors of Ely priced the item at £699 and it is called ‘praying mantis in a lockdown bubble’.”  

Man leaves Interiors of Ely

A man is pictured leaving Interiors of Ely with the praying mantis sculpture. - Credit: Interiors of Ely

The sculpture was on display for a few months, before the shop emailed Yvette and Lester to say it had been stolen. 

“They have the theft on CCTV when they lifted the mantis and walked out of the shop,” said Lester. 

“It was stolen on Saturday, March 19 but reported to police on Monday, March 21. 

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“The praying mantis is 12 inches in height, it’s bright green, looks similar to a dragonfly with thin, sticky legs. It’s very distinctive.

Praying mantis in glass dome by Yvette Cobley

Yvette Cobley's sculpture, 'praying mantis in a lockdown bubble', was stolen from Interiors of Ely. - Credit: Lester and Yvette Cobley

“A lady was speaking to a member of staff in the shop when the theft happened, but we don’t know if she is connected to the man.” 

CCTV footage shows a man, wearing a cap, dark-coloured jacket, jeans and white shoes, walking out of Interiors of Ely with the artwork on March 19. 

Cambridgeshire Police said investigations into the theft continue. 

CCTV footage of suspect in Interiors of Ely

This man was seen walking out of Interiors of Ely with the praying mantis sculpture. - Credit: Interiors of Ely

“We are investigating a theft of a large praying mantis from the shop in Chequer Lane on March 19 between 3.05pm and 3.08pm,” a police spokesperson said. 

“Anyone with information is asked to contact police online: quoting reference 35/19866/22 or call 101.” 

One of Yvette’s sculptures, a retro mirrored mosaic table, featured on Channel 4’s ‘Four Rooms’ in 2013 when it was bought by interior design mogul Celia Sawyer for a client. 

Yvette Cobley artist from March

One of the sculptures made by Yvette Cobley (pictured) featured on Channel 4's 'Four Rooms'. - Credit: Yvette Cobley

Many hours have been spent creating the praying mantis artwork, covered by what Lester described as an “expensive glass dome”. 

Yvette, of March, has not experienced theft of her work since she started working commercially around 10 years ago, which has left the couple searching for answers. 

“We were horrified, more so my wife,” Lester added. 

“Artists create things which take an awful lot of hours to put together.”