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1966: When Football’s Solid Gold Jules Rimet World Cup Was Stolen In London

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On March 20 1966, the World Cup was on show at the National Stamp Exhibition in Central Hall, Westminster, London.

 

18th March 1966:  A young boy and a man looking at the Jules Rimet world cup trophy during a British stamp exhibition.  (Photo by M. McKeown/Express/Getty Images)

18th March 1966: A young boy and a man looking at the Jules Rimet world cup trophy during a British stamp exhibition. (Photo by M. McKeown/Express/Getty Images)

 

And then it wasn’t.

 

Screen shot 2015-03-20 at 21.13.04

 

 

The £30,000 solid gold Jules Rimet trophy disappeared while a church service was taking place in another part of the building.

 

A diagram showing how the World Cup was stolen from the exhibition site in Westminster Central Hall, 22nd March 1966. The thief entered via the Matthew Parker Street entrance and made his way past the Harmer Rooke stamp stand to the cabinet containing the cup.  (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A diagram showing how the World Cup was stolen from the exhibition site in Westminster Central Hall, 22nd March 1966. The thief entered via the Matthew Parker Street entrance and made his way past the Harmer Rooke stamp stand to the cabinet containing the cup. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

The BBC reported:

Thieves removed the cup from the “Sport with Stamps” display at the Stampex exhibition, but stamps worth £3m were left behind. At least two guards were in the hall at the time of the theft…

 

orld Cup Final. Santiago, Chile. 17th June 1962. Brazil 3 v Czechoslovakia 1. Brazil's Didi, (by then a veteran of 3 World Cups) holds aloft the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy as Brazil become world champions.

orld Cup Final. Santiago, Chile. 17th June 1962. Brazil 3 v Czechoslovakia 1. Brazil’s Didi, (by then a veteran of 3 World Cups) holds aloft the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy as Brazil become world champions.

 

Delegates from current cup-holders Brazil left the cup in custody of the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) last week. The trophy was to be the centre-piece of the World Cup tournament being hosted by Britain later this year.

 

30th July 1930:  Jules Rimet, president of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football), presents the first World Cup trophy (the Jules Rimet Trophy) to Dr Paul Jude, the president of the Uruguayan Football Association, after Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 in the first ever World Cup final in Montevideo, Uruguay.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

30th July 1930: Jules Rimet, president of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football), presents the first World Cup trophy (the Jules Rimet Trophy) to Dr Paul Jude, the president of the Uruguayan Football Association, after Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 in the first ever World Cup final in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Vice-chairman of the Football Association Council, Jack Stewart, declared:

“We are responsible for it in the end because we are the organizing association.”

 

A policeman stands guard in Central Hall Westminster, next to the stand at the National Stamp Exhibition where the Jules Rimet trophy was housed before it was stolen, 21st March 1966. The World Cup competition is to be held in England later in the year. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A policeman stands guard in Central Hall Westminster, next to the stand at the National Stamp Exhibition where the Jules Rimet trophy was housed before it was stolen, 21st March 1966. The World Cup competition is to be held in England later in the year. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

 

The famous trophy was found Pickles, a mongrel dog, out for a walk with his owner, on 27 March in south London.

 

28th March 1966:  Jeanne Corbett with Pickles, the dog that found the stolen Jules Rimet World Cup trophy when out for a walk with owner David Corbett in Norwood, south London, shortly before the World Cup in England.  (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

28th March 1966: Jeanne Corbett with Pickles, the dog that found the stolen Jules Rimet World Cup trophy when out for a walk with owner David Corbett in Norwood, south London, shortly before the World Cup in England. (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

Pickles became a star. (He was bigger than World Cup Willie, the official mascot of the 1966 World Cup.)

 

Pickles, the dog who found the stolen World Cup trophy, is offered a part in the comedy film 'The Spy with a Cold Nose', 29th March 1966. With him are (left to right) actor Eric Sykes (1923 - 2012), Pickles' owner David Corbett, screenwriter Ray Galton, Pickles' owner Jean Corbett and screenwriter Alan Simpson.  (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pickles, the dog who found the stolen World Cup trophy, is offered a part in the comedy film ‘The Spy with a Cold Nose’, 29th March 1966. With him are (left to right) actor Eric Sykes (1923 – 2012), Pickles’ owner David Corbett, screenwriter Ray Galton, Pickles’ owner Jean Corbett and screenwriter Alan Simpson. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

Later that year England won the World Cup.

 

World Cup Final, 1966, Wembley, England, 30th July, 1966 England 4 v West Germany 2, Englands captain Bobby Moore holds aloft the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy as he sits on the shoulders of his teammates after the match

World Cup Final, 1966, Wembley, England, 30th July, 1966 England 4 v West Germany 2, Englands captain Bobby Moore holds aloft the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy as he sits on the shoulders of his teammates after the match

 

In 1970 Brazil was allowed to keep the trophy for ever, after winning the competition for the third time.

The Jules Rimet cup was stolen again in 1983 – in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has never been recovered.

 

  • The police had their man, but they were still short one Jules Rimet Trophy. That’s where Pickles, a four-year-old mutt, entered the picture. On March 27, Pickles was out for a walk with his owner, David Corbett, in South London when something under a hedge distracted the pup. Pickles insisted on investigating this hedge and eventually pulled out a newsprint parcel tied together with string. When Corbett opened the parcel, he realized that Pickles had found the Jules Rimet Trophy. It’s still not clear how the trophy ended up under the hedge in the first place.

    Corbett ran the trophy to his local police station, but the cops thought the story of Pickles miraculously finding the trophy in a hedge was a bit far-fetched. They initially thought Corbett was a suspect for the theft; detectives even questioned him until 2:30 a.m. and made him stand in a lineup before clearing his alibi for the day of the burglary.

    Once Corbett was cleared, the media got the story, and Pickles became an international star. Offers to visit foreign countries rolled in for the heroic hound, and he received a free year’s supply of dog food. Pickles even starred in a feature film, The Spy With the Cold Nose. At the height of Pickles’ popularity, he was earning £60 a day for Corbett.

    Better still, when the English team won the World Cup that year, the players asked for Pickles to attend the celebratory banquet and even let him lick their plates clean.