Decorative steel chains at a Wolverhampton park have been ripped out by metal thieves in a series of "despicable" night-time raids, it emerged today.
Six sections of the galvanised steel chain, which have decorated the edge of the pool at Tettenhall Green for decades, have gone missing over the past week. The bill to replace and repair damage left behind is still being calculated.
Council workers have now moved in to weld the bolts linking the remaining chains to the series of concrete bollards which form the attractive fence.
CCTV cameras in the area have been programmed to pan the length of the fence to try to catch the thieves.
Tettenhall Regis ward councillor Jonathan Yardley said the damage seems to have been caused by thieves using hammers to smash loose the bolts.
"They are stealing the chains one at a time," he said.
"It is the work of despicable vandals. It's like nothing is sacred. It's heartbreaking.
"What is so frustrating is the price they get selling this amount of metal as scrap will be nothing compared to the thousands it might cost to get them replaced."
He said he had managed to rescue one of the chains, which feature diamond-shaped spikes through the middle, as it had been abandoned, possibly because the thieves had been disturbed while taking their loot.
"They are not the kind of thing you can just buy off the shelf," he said. "It could take a good long while before we can find someone able to make replacements.
"This is the best beauty spot in Wolverhampton, if you ask me, and it is appreciated by people from all over the city."