Hundreds of stolen memorials discovered
POLICE are investigating whether hundreds of smashed metal memorial plaques recovered in a raid on a south London scrapyard are those stolen from a Tonbridge cemetery.
Officers investigating metal thefts swooped on a scrap metal company in Bensham Lane, Croydon, last week after receiving information the site was handling stolen material.
Hundreds of metal memorial plaques were recovered, some of which were identified by "smartwater" markings as having been taken from a graveyard in nearby Beckenham.
Photographs of some of the seized items showed broken plaques of an identical design to the 150 prised off a wall at the Welland Road cemetery in Tonbridge on May 11.
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Many of the fragments had slotted screws with yellow plastic wall plugs attached to them, again the same as in Tonbridge.
Large bronze statues of a dragon and Christ on the cross, which were believed to have been stolen from a church, and copper cables were also recovered, along with around £20,000 in cash.
Three men, aged 69, 50 and 28, were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
The owner of the yard and another employee have since been charged in connection with the raid.
Kent Police spokeswoman Pippa Taylor said officers were still investigating whether any of the recovered plaques were those stolen from the Welland Road remembrance wall three days before the raid.
A plaque dedicated to Kimberley Godsall's grandmother, Beryl Furbank, was one of those stolen from Tonbridge Cemetery.
The 29-year-old of Whitefriars Wharf said: "I thought when it happened they wouldn't be able to sell them because it would be obvious where they were from.
"I'd hoped that whoever they sold them to would be suspicious."
Sergeant George Shannon of Croydon Police said: "Scrap metal dealers have a responsibility to check the metal coming in to their yards and those that don't keep the correct records of the people they're trading with, or who are happy to receive stolen metal, can expect a visit from us.
"We will be checking and, if you're found with stolen metal, then expect to be put in front of the courts."