Thieves steal Esperance chess pieces

Stolen: Previously vandalised, Lake Monjingup's giant chess set has once again been targeted by thieves.
Stolen: Previously vandalised, Lake Monjingup's giant chess set has once again been targeted by thieves.

VOLUNTEERS putting in countless hours and effort to maintain the Lake Monjingup area have suffered another loss, with the theft of pieces from their much-loved giant chessboard.

Honorary caretaker Brian Warren said he believes the pieces, including pawns and knights, were stolen from the outdoor board over the Easter weekend.

Mr Warren said the local community and visitors played with the chess pieces regularly and said he and the Lake Monjingup committee was saddened by the theft.

"Originally those chess pieces were donated by the 1st Esperance Scout Group," he said.

"It's incredibly disappointing that someone would target an area that is designed for the community." Mr Warren said it was hard to know what to say about the theft and noted the time and effort that goes into replacing and fixing pieces that have been stolen and vandalised in the past.

"The giant chess set is out there for people to enjoy; if people go out there to have fun and find half the pieces missing ... what are they going to think?" he said.

"There's no telling if the pieces are going to be there each time you visit.

"The chess set is a bit of an icon for Lake Monjingup and frequently needs repairing and repainting to keep it up to standard."

A cream-coloured knight, two cream-coloured pawns and a green-coloured pawn are missing from the chess set.

The pawns stand about 50cm tall and the knights around 60-70cm tall.

Esperance woman Stacey Webster and her mother Raewyn Fisher recently returned three pawns to the shire depot after locating them around town.

"What makes it so sad is that people donated their time to create the giant chess set at Lake Monjingup and stupid people have done this," she said.

Mr Warren has appealed to the public for help to track them down.

Ranger services visit Lake Monjingup to patrol the area.

Anyone with information should contact the Shire of Esperance depot on 9083 1522.