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Tower of London Poppies Are Being 'Targeted By Thieves', Creator Reveals

20/11/2014 09:09 GMT | Updated 20/11/2014 10:59 GMT

Thieves have tried to target the ceramic Tower of London poppies since their removal from public display, the artist behind the spectacle has claimed.

Thousands of volunteers began removing the 888,246 poppies that had been planted over several months - each representing a British or Commonwealth soldier killed in the war - as part of the Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red installation.

But the artist behind the stunning installation has revealed that people have tried to break into lorries containing the poppies.

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Creator Paul Cummins said thieves had been targeting the poppies ever since they were installed, and now they are going after the vans where they are being held.

Slamming the would be thieves, Cummins said: “I'm not happy. It's disrespectful to the people who bought them and made them and to the people they represent.

The Derbyshire-based artist, added: "When they were taken out of the moat, people were breaking into the lorries to try and get them... they have been trying to do this ever since we put them in.

"People want them but we're not making any more because it would be disrespectful to the people that died.”

Cummins said that "hundreds of thousands of people" still wanted to purchase a poppy.

A Historic Royal Palaces spokeswoman confirmed that an attempt was made to break into empty vehicles to the BBC.

"All appropriate security measures have been in place throughout the project to ensure the safe delivery of the poppies to their new owners," they said.

Volunteers have been removing around 75,000 poppies per day from the moat since 12 November.

The last poppy of the installation, viewed by more than 5 million people while on display, is scheduled to be removed on 28 November.

Poppies are being prepared to be posted to members of the public who purchased them for £25 each - meaning sales are expected to hit around £15 million.

The proceeds are being shared between six service charities, including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.

The removal process, as seen below, has so far been a strange reversal of what actually happened at First World War battlefields, where fields of barren mud were replaced with fields of poppies that could only grow after four years of conflict ended.

Poppies Removed from Tower Of London