Bronze statues of Christ, copper cabling and a Chinese dragon were among items recovered by police after a raid on a scrap metal yard in south London.
Also recovered from the Croydon scrap dealer's premises were a number of memorial plaques stolen from churches and crematoriums. The entire haul is estimated to be worth tens of thousands of pounds. Acting Inspector James Coomber, said:
"This represents a significant find in our ongoing efforts to target metal theft. The majority of scrap metal dealers who are legitimate support our targeting of those acting outside of the law. Metal theft is not a victimless crime and the public can play a vital part helping us by reporting anything suspicious to us."
The increase in scrap metal prices has fuelled a spate of related thefts; last year a Barbara Hepworth statue was stolen from Dulwich Park and in January this year, a woman was jailed after stealing a WWI memorial plaque in Lewisham. An Essex cable thief must have had a nasty shock — British Transport Police recently found charred clothing at the scene of a cable theft and are now on the lookout for a medium-rare criminal.
If you have any information relating to metal theft you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or 999 if you believe a crime is being committed in front of you. Otherwise you can report on the non-emergency 101 number.
Photo by tubb in the Londonist Flickr pool