Help stop the scrap metal thieves

December 21 2011

Image of Help stop the scrap metal thieves

Picture: Rob Fitzpatrick

Following the Hepworth theft yesterday, a reader writes:

It was sad to read today on your excellent website of yet another theft of public sculpture -- probably, as you rightly imply in your commentary, for its scrap-metal value only.  Perhaps you might alert readers of Art History News to a  current, and laudable, e-petition which seeks an 'amendment to the Scrap Metal Merchants Act 1964' by prohibiting cash transactions on the part of scrap-metal dealers and making 'payment by cheque or directly into a bank account mandatory'. This would be a significant factor in reducing metal theft. The e-petition, which needs 100,000 signatories in order to be considered for debate in Parliament,has already passed the half-way mark:

If only the tragedy of the Wedgwood Museum could be averted by an e-petition!

Please do sign it. Another possibility is to make it a particular crime to wilfully damage works of cultural importance. So x months in jail for nicking a bollard for scrap, but longer for works of art, or lead from a church roof. I believe they do this in Australia. 

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