Page last updated at 08:19 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 09:19 UK

Theft of war plaques for scrap

Mountain Ash war memorial (Photo by Joan Rees)
The four plaque will probably be melted down and sold for scrap metal

Bronze plaques that listed the names of fallen war heroes have been stolen.

The four plates were ripped off a monument in Mountain Ash by thieves who police believe are cashing in on the rising price of scrap metal.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council said it was working to replace the plates from the monument in the Cynon Valley, which will probably be melted down and sold.

South Wales Police are investigating the theft and are appealing for anyone who has information to get in touch.

Local councillor Andrew Morgan, who is the council's cabinet member for transport and customer care, said: "This act is just despicable, the lowest of the low.


It would be a pity if when these people are caught if they weren't sent to some active service

Councillor Simon Lloyd

"As cabinet member with responsibility for transport, I am already well aware of the struggle staff in that department face as they strive to replace the drain covers and other metal road furniture that is regularly stolen so it can be sold on as scrap.

"But to steal the name plates of those who died serving our country in conflict is just deplorable. There are no words to describe just how appalling such an action is."

Fellow Mountain Ash councillor Simon Lloyd added: "People are really upset about this... It would be a pity if when these people are caught if they weren't sent to some active service."

The council is now working to ensure all the name plaques are replaced in time for Remembrance Day in November.


That these were very local, personal memorials and that's why it's painful when these sorts of things happen

Taff Gillingham, military historian

Theft of war memorial plaques is becoming increasingly common, according to military historian Taff Gillingham, who said he had heard of other thefts around the UK.

"All these memorials were put up by local people as their means of commemorating their dead," he said.

"And I think that's the important thing to remember. That these were very local, personal memorials and that's why it's painful when these sorts of things happen."

He added: "You really would need to be scum of the earth to do such a thing. It really is the lowest of the low.

"Sadly when the price of scrap metal has absolutely rocketed, these sorts of things will go on."

In a statement, Rhondda Cynon Taf council said: "A huge amount of work is now needed to ensure all those who had their name plaques stolen have news ones made up and installed on the structure."

South Wales Police are investigating.

Anyone with information about the thefts can call Aberdare CID on 01685 872456.




SEE ALSO
Appeal after drain cover thefts
13 Aug 08 |  Hampshire
Warning after 83,000 track theft
05 Aug 08 |  South East Wales
Police crackdown on metal thefts
08 Jul 08 |  South East Wales
Metal thieves risk life for cash
08 Jul 08 |  Bradford
Thieves target power line metal
12 Aug 08 |  Tayside and Central

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