Police have declared war on a ruthless gang of sculptors who are targeting scrap metal dealers in the South East, after a replaceable heap of metal junk was stolen overnight from a yard in Billericay. The metal, said to consist of lead from church roofs, railway signal cables, manhole covers and lamp-posts, was the pride and joy of yard owner, Dave Pike.
"It formed a pleasing visual focal point to the yard. Me and the boys had got used to seeing it here,” he complained. “But yesterday when we arrived for work, we were confronted by an empty space, where the scrap once stood. It’s been standing there for over six days and the place just isn’t the same without it.”
The assorted metal items were acquired, Pike said, from a man of average age and build, with brown hair and a nose, for an undisclosed amount of cash, sometime in the last week.
“I’m devastated,” Pike sobbed. “How could they do this to an innocent dealer whose only faults are an inability to remember names and faces, and an aversion to record-keeping? My only hope is that some other anonymous person will turn up soon with another heap of copper, lead or bronze. I hear security at the primary school is rubbish, and the kiddies are off for Christmas now, so if anyone’s interested, that might be a good place to start.”
The scrap yard theft is thought to be the work of a dissident Royal Academician, whose three-dimensional work has been described as ‘brutal’, and his gang of renegade sculptors, whose members include a Penzance women who creates cat sculptures out of sheet metal and a man who balances stones on the beach at Lyme Regis.
"This is just the latest in a spate of dramatic thefts from scrap yards,” said the Essex Police’s Head of Scrapheap Protection, Police Constable Peter Broomhead. “We believe the criminal intent of this gang is to use the stolen metal to create abstract and figurative statues, war memorials and other pieces of art for public places. It’s just sickening, but part of a growing trend.”
“Our sources inform us there are also gangs of street furniture makers, Network Rail employees and churchwardens roaming the streets, looking or vengeance. The prospect for the ordinary, law-ignoring scrap metal dealer is horrifying. If these gangs were to join forces, storming the chain-link dressed in damp chasubles, wielding their disrupted railway time-tables and waving wasted Arts Council grants in the air, I doubt there’s a Rotweiler in the land who could keep them out.”