Two high value metal thefts in less than a week have forced Medway Council to close Rochester Riverside walkway just five weeks after it opened.
In the first robbery on July 8 thieves broke through security gates at Gas House Lane to take 100 steel posts and 148 steel handrails worth £100,000, which were being stored there before installation along the walkway.
The council increased security at the site, adding a 24 hour security guard. However, on July 14 thieves unbolted and removed a further 82 posts and 200 handrails worth £200,000 from the walkway after forcing open security gates in Furrells Road.
This second theft left a 140 metre gap in the handrail and led to the decision to indefinitely close the path by the council and its partner in the scheme, the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).
A council spokesman told MRW that the handrails have now been welded in place to prevent any further theft. He said: This level of metal theft is unusual for Medway but its not a surprise with the level of media attention on metal thefts at the moment.
A Kent police spokeswoman could not give too much detail about the case but said: We are taking action to combat metal theft in Medway.
Council portfolio holder for strategic development and economic growth Jane Chitty said: The walkway was proving very popular. In the interests of public safety, we have no choice but to close it while we carry out a further review of security.
Image: A welder welds the handrail into place to prevent further thefts from the walkway.