A heartbroken husband has slammed mindless thieves who stole three memorial plaques from a bench in Copley.
Ken Knowles has been maintaining the bench, which is on the footpath behind Albert Promenade, since his mother-in-law, Majorie Needham, put it there 30 years ago following the death of her husband, Ralph.
Since then, both Majorie and his wife, Christine, have died, and Ken has put plaques on the bench in their memory too.
In April he took the plaques down to have them cleaned and polished and then returned them to the bench.
But he recently got a phone call from his sister-in-law asking whether he had taken them for more work because they had vanished.
“I went down there straight away and you can imagine my disgust when I saw they had gone,” he said. “The first thing I thought when I looked at the bench was ‘How low can you get?’
“We’ve never had any problem before, but there are always empty beer cans and patches where bonfires have been so there are certain kinds of people hanging around down there.
“They even took the screws holding them on.”
Mr Knowles believes that they were taken to be sold for scrap, which he said makes it even more frustrating.
“They were made of stainless steel so I can’t imagine they will have got much for them.”
He said he now intended to replace the plaques – but with plastic equivalents.
“I never expected them to be taken in the first place. If I had known I would have bolted them on or something,” he said.
“I’ve been to a few scrap dealers and they say they haven’t seen anything but they will keep their eyes open. There must be someone buying things like this off people.”
Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with any information is asked to contact PC Kate Crowther in Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0845 6060606.