The commemorative plaques of Benny Hill and Tommy Cooper are among four stolen from outside Teddington Studios.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Benny Hill: One of the all-time greats

The Heritage Foundation plaques, which also celebrate the careers of Sid James and Irene Handl, are believed to have been stolen from the site on June 30.

Television stars took to the Heritage Foundation Facebook page to express their shock at the thefts, including Only Fools and Horses actor John Challis, who urged whoever took the plaques to return them.

He said: “These are memorials to much-loved and respected people.”

Heritage Foundation president Vicki Michelle said: “Blue plaques are a memorial and symbol of great talent. They are put up to keep a person's memory alive not just for their families' sake but for those who admired them.

“It is so sad to think that in today’s society some have so little respect for those we have loved and revered.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Comedian, magician and water rat: Tommy Cooper

A spokeswoman from Haymarket, which owns the site, said the plaques were stolen prior to the site being securely sealed off before demolition work began at the studios, which are due to be turned into housing.

The other commemorative plaques have been removed for safety.

The Richmond and Twickenham Times understands a police investigation is under way.

More to follow.