Metal railings stolen from around a children’s playground in Cannock have been reinstated.
Some 150ft of fencing from around the Matlock Drive play area in Chadsmoor was unbolted and removed during the night last month. The culprits were caught just hours later, cutting up the metal with an angle-grinder.
Council engineers have now been able to weld together the damaged panels and put them back.
The thieves were caught by council workers who had turned up for litter-picking duty on September 25 and spotted them a short distance from the playground and called in the police.
The three workmen had earlier reported that the railings were missing and helped put up a plastic cordon around the playground to make it safe. But 90 minutes later, the team spotted two men in Saturn Drive, less than a mile away, cutting the railings into shorter sections behind a van parked between two blocks of flats.
The vehicle and its contents were taken by police to a secure pound near Tamworth for forensic examination. Only seven panels had been cut up and workers have been able to repair them.
Cannock housing leader, Councillor Frank Allen, praised the actions of the authority’s employees and warned that metal thefts would not be tolerated.
“It was smart work by everyone involved in the capture of these men, but particularly our employees.
“It was absolutely marvellous how they spotted the thieves and put two and two together, leading to them being caught in the process of cutting up the metal. The play area is surrounded by housing on all sides but anyone living there wouldn’t really have known that the men weren’t legitimately taking away the railings.”