Police in London have found a statue of Christ, an ornamental dragon and hundreds of memorial plaques amongst items seized at a scrap yard.
The yard in south-west London was one of a number raided in targeted action against metal theft. Officers also recovered stolen cable and £20,000 in cash from another yard.
A total of ten arrests were made, a number of stolen vehicles recovered and fixed penalty notices issued for waste offences.
Some of the brass plaques were identified through ‘smartwater marking’ as having been stolen from a Beckenham crematorium.
The bronze dragon statue, weighing around a tonne and worth around £3,500, was identified through the police stolen arts database.
Acting Inspector James Coomber, the operation coordinator, said: “This represents a significant find in our ongoing efforts to target metal theft.
“The majority of scrap metal dealers who are legitimate support our targeting of those acting outside of the law. Those contributing to the thriving illegal trade can expect regular operations to search, detect and arrest those profiting from it.
“We are focusing our resources on yards where intelligence leads us to believe they are taking in stolen metal, not recording items lawfully, and committing related offences.”
Met police officers were assisted by officials from Trading Standards, BT, and the Environment Agency.