Crooks Cart Crimson Poppies
London -- According to the artist behind the display, thieves were consistently trying to steal the Tower of London ceramic poppies during the installation, which has now concluded.
Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network were hoping to see the crimson floral carpet remain in situ for just a bit longer.
More than five million people have travelled to the Tower of London to see the 888,246 handmade poppies, each of which represents a British or Commonwealth soldier who died during the First World War.
A large percentage of the installation has been ear-marked to be sent to members of the public who have paid £25 per poppy, with the £15 million proceeds due to be shared between six service charities which including Help for Heroes, and the Royal British Legion.
Now Paul Cummins, the artist behind the installation, entitled 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red', has revealed that attempts were made to steal the poppies while they were displayed, and while they were being transported.
"I'm not happy," he told the Independent. "It's disrespectful to the people who bought them and made them and to the people they represent. When they were taken out of the moat, people were breaking into the lorries to try and get them. People want them but we're not making any more because it would be disrespectful to the people that died."
Now eBay has confirmed that it will not allow any of the ceramic poppies to be sold through its site.
Since 12 November, volunteers have been removing around 75,000 poppies from the moat each day where they are being transported to a distribution centre in Alfreton, Derbyshire, to be cleaned and packaged. So far a huge 40,000 of them have already been posted out to those who aided charities in buying the poppies.
The installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’; that was created in the Tower’s famous dry moat has continued to grow throughout the summer until the moat was filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies, each poppy representing a British or Colonial military.
The work was designed as a tribute to Britain's World War I dead, the blood-red trench of ceramic poppies that circle the Tower of London and became a national phenomenon as Britons flocked to remember the countless fallen over many generations of war.
Up to four million people - six percent of the country's population - visited the exhibit.
"We have received crime prevention advice from the police and all appropriate security measures have been in place throughout the project to ensure the safe delivery of the poppies to their new owners. An attempt was made to break into empty vehicles at a rest stop on their way to London. A number of other vehicles at the rest stop were targeted in the same way. The police have been informed." Stated a spokesman for the Tower of London.