Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Metal thieves

In a sad and depressing sign of the times, the UK's burgeoning trade in stolen metal has reached its nadir with a Barbara Hepworth statue stolen out from Dulwich Park a few days ago.

Apparently commodity prices for industrial metals like copper and iron are soaring, giving petty thieves an incentive to steal metal from railroads, plaques from statues - basically, anything solid metal has a decent resale value and they're going after it. The Hepworth piece is just the worst – and most high profile – example of the crime. Police are cracking down on the crime, as it is not only just sad to see art being stolen but it's contributing to commuter train disruption and costing the country millions.

At this festive time of the year full of goodwill and cheer, this epidemic is making me despondent. Obviously because public art should be safe through a commonly accepted code of decency in society, but also because the economy is still so bad that more and more people are being driven to crime to try to make ends meet (I'm a fan of believing people are inherently good, and that motives for stealing a beautiful sculpture aren't purely mercenary).

Anyway. Here's to hoping this is the first and last of such crimes in the world, and that the thieves find some Christmas spirit in their hearts to return the sculpture to be restored.


  1. You always hear about trains being delayed because the metal in the tracks or whatever has been stolen. Ridiculous.

  2. It's really annoying and just so sad! I hope they get the statue back.