Metal thieves have struck again in a community park – this time targeting a much loved sundial. The dial, which was located in the Rookery on Streatham Common, was detached from its stone base during the Christmas holidays and stolen.
Streatham resident Philip Sidaway, of nearby Valley Road, was walking through the park when he noticed it had been taken.
He said: “I’m disgusted but not surprised given all the other metal theft around. The top of the plinth it stood on appears to show signs of it being chiselled off.”
Kasia Brookes, committee secretary for the Streatham Common Community Garden, said the theft was “a very selfish act” but reflected the tough economic times.
She said: “I think it's a great shame, as I remember the sundial from my childhood - it's been there for years and years.
“I'm sure it means something to quite a lot of people. It is a very selfish act, but it also shows how desperate people are getting at the moment.”
A council spokesman said it would cost between £300 and £400 to replace the stolen dial.
He said: “The Rookery sundial is an important attraction for residents and visitors who come to enjoy Streatham Common and its theft is devastating.
“We will do everything in our power to assist the police in investigating this matter which sadly appears to be the latest incident of public art and metal theft to occur in a south London borough.”
In October, thieves stole two imitation bronze inscription plates from the Civilian War Memorial in the Lambeth Cemetery in Blackshaw Road, while a grade-II listed bronze relief plaque at West Norwood Cemetery commemorating the Victorian building magnate Benjamin Colls was desecrated as thieves attempted to steal it and sell it for cash.
Nearby West Norwood Library has been closed until further notice after copper was stolen from the roof.
As the price of scrap metal continues to spiral, police estimate that metal theft across the UK is costing the economy £1 billion a year.
Lambeth Council Leader Steve Reed has called on the Government to help tackle the problem.
“We need the Government to act fast to put these lowlife criminals out of business,” he said
(Reproduced from Local Guardian, Streatham 30th Dec 2011)
Gardien Comment: Don't make it easy for opportunist thieves in your area. Check out what metal items you have around your house and garden, lock them away wherever possible, and fit security devices to lessen the chance of theft. See www.garden-security.co.uk for advice and solutions