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Metal thieves targeting historical Welsh sites

The Iron Works at Merthyr date back to the 18th century and are now being targeted by metal thieves. Credit: Merthyr Council

One of Wales' icon industrial heritage sites has been hit by a spate of robberies by thieves looking for metal.

Merthyr Council says iron has been taken from the Blast Furnaces on the remains of Cyfarthfa Works.

Individuals were seen destroying stone and brick work to steal metal lintels and sell for scrap.

The Blast Furnaces at Cyfarthfa are the best preserved examples from the industrial revolution in the world and are protected as ancient monuments.

Today representatives from Wales' police forces will meet at a summit in Cardiff to discuss how best to tackle metal theft.

The crime is estimated to cost the UK some £220M a year, and although the level of theft has dropped by 27% in Wales, tackling the crime still remains a priority.

South Wales Police Deputy Chief Constable Matt Jukes says "Metal theft remains a problem, and we want to ensure that the people who are in the jobs tackling this crime head on know what the legislative changes are and know how to take full advantage of them."

This bridge in Merthyr had to be closed earlier this year due to metal theft. Credit: ITV


  1. Megan Boot

Merthyr bridge closed due to metal thefts after one year

The bridge has been closed following the metal theft

A pedestrian bridge that's barely a year old has had to close because of metal thieves. 912 metres of stainless steel wire were taken from Puddlers Bridge, which links Merthyr Tydfil town centre to Pentrebach. The theft happened last week.

The thieves have left a dangerous gap on the ramps leading up to the bridge, with local officials shutting the bridge as they're worried that someone could fall down onto the busy A4060 below.

912 metres of steel wire has been taken

Carwyn Morris, who designed the bridge, has said that the wire stolen was worth around £20 but it could cost £12,000 to fix. That is going to have to come from the highways budget. Councillor David Jones told ITV News that it's the equivalent of sorting out around 150 potholes.

They hope to have it open again in the next few weeks.

Report: Metal theft worth £14,000

British Transport Police are appealing for help to catch thieves who stole fourteen thousand pounds worth of cabling from tracks in the Rhymney Valley.

They say recent legislation, which makes it illegal for scrap metal dealers to give cash, is going some way to reducing the problem. But as Hannah Thomas reports, they've still got a big fight on the hands to stop it altogether.

£14,000 railway metal theft in Rhymney Valley

£14,000 worth of metal has been stolen from the railway in the New Tredegar area .

The British Transport Police is asking anyone who may have seen anything suspicious between the 2nd and 8th of January, when the thefts occurred, to contact them on 0800 405040.

Officers are investigating four separate incidents in and around the Brithdir area.

We will be carrying out directed patrols along the Rhymney Valley line, including officers patrolling on foot, in vehicles and with police dogs, to catch and deter criminals, and will link with Gwent Police to gather intelligence on suspects in the area.

The irony is that the stolen items are of no real value to anyone outside the railway industry, yet the cost to replace them is extremely high. In fact, the thieves will struggle to get any money at all, as scrap metal dealers are highly unlikely to accept them.

– Sergeant Dave Morris, British Transport Police


Metal thefts from Great Orme

Copper lightning protectors have been stolen from the towers of the cable cars on the Great Orme, at Llandudno. Lead was also removed from the roof of an observation hut on the headland.

Its owner says that the summer reopening of Britain's longest cable car ride, which will carry the Olympic torch in the summer, shouldn't be affected.

Metals stolen from Porthmadog chapel

Police in Porthmadog are looking for thieves who broke into a disused chapel and stole lead pipes and alloy organ tubes. Capel y Garth, in Bank Place, has been stripped of metals sometime over the last six weeks.

North Wales Police are appealing for any information about the occupants of a dark blue BMW, who were seen acting suspiciously in the evening of Saturday 3 March.

Man charged with scrap metal theft

A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to steal scrap metal from the former X-ray department at Dolgellau Hospital. Thomas John Cato from Dolgellau has been charged with burglary and other offences. He's been remanded in custody to appear before magistrates on Monday.

I am delighted to see an individual being arrested and charged in relation to what has become a large problem in and around the Gwynedd area. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stealing scrap metals, and the attentions of local officers in the South Gwynedd area will now be focused on others who are committing similar offences across the area.

– Inspector Mark Armstrong, North Wales Police