Thieves target city’s iconic buildings

METAL thieves have stripped thousands of pounds worth of lead from two of Ely’s most iconic buildings.

In the early hours of January 25, a gang targeted the recently refurbished Maltings on Ship Lane stripping hundreds of pounds worth of the valuable metal from the roof of the 19th Century landmark.

The attack came just weeks after an estimated �15,000 worth of lead was stolen from the Grade I-listed Old Bishops Palace, which is currently being used by the King’s School.

A spokesman for East Cambridgeshire District Council, which owns the Maltings, said: “We are working with the police regarding the incident. While there are now temporary measures in place, we will look to put more permanent measures in place in future.”

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire police added: “We are aware of lead thefts at The Maltings in Ship Lane.

“We are investigating these incidents and are working closely with the management at The Maltings.

“We have increased patrols in the area and would appeal for anyone with information to contact police on 101 or if there is a crime in progress to call 999.”

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Over the last two years, tens of thousands of pounds worth of metal has been stolen

across the district.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Ely Standard earlier this year showed that on average, over the last two years, metal theft had been occurring at least twice a week in the towns and villages across the district.

A total of 258 incidents were recorded, with householders the hardest hit by thieves,

with 94 incidents of metal being stolen from homes across the area.

Copper was the most sought after metal, though aluminium, lead, steel and brass were also targeted.

Countywide, there were 793 incidents of metal theft in 2009, 1,443 in 2010 and

1,519 to date in 2011. Police estimate that the total value of the metal stolen over that

period amounts to a whopping �3,697,976.