On sunday a letter about this from me made the Telegraph. I reproduce it below:
SIR – The Sunday Telegraph has done much to highlight the anguish of councils like mine, which have suffered at the hands of thieves who steal bronze and other metals from public areas, including from war memorials and statues.
In December, Harlow’s bronze plaque to victims of the Holocaust was stolen and, a month later, thieves attempted to steal a bronze statue called Julia – valued at more than £15,000 – from a residential street. Having unceremoniously dumped this three-foot work by artist Gerda Rubenstein in a wheelie bin, they only ran off when a resident came out to confront them.
You can therefore imagine my utter dismay when a 44-year-old Harlow man arrested over this attempted theft only received a caution. What kind of signal does it send to people who believe that yanking one of our valuable statues from its pedestal is a route to easy money?
The hands of local police are tied by the statute books. Examples like this show that the Government needs to bring in tougher sentencing for metal thieves as a matter of urgency.
If you have enough brass neck to try and steel bronze in broad daylight, a caution is hardly likely to deter you.