Brazen thieves steal Sheffield Town Hall brass handrail

Metal thieves swipe brass handrail outside Sheffield Town Hall
Metal thieves swipe brass handrail outside Sheffield Town Hall
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Brazen metal thieves hit new heights of audacity in a raid on Sheffield Town Hall.

Council staff arriving at work were shocked to find a section of brass handrail on a ramp by the front doors had been swiped overnight.

The thieves had wrenched a 25ft-long strip from its anchors on a stone balustrade with such force it had toppled a 120lb coping stone on to flagstones below.

A council spokeswoman said the theft was discovered on Monday morning.

They were reviewing CCTV footage, but it was thought thieves had used activity from the Tramlines festival clean-up as cover.

Following heightened vigilance, an arrest was made on Wednesday night after what was believed to be the theft of railings at the Surrey Street entrance, she added.

It was not known if the incidents were connected.

A specialist mason replaced the coping stone on the ramp on Thursday.

But a replacement handrail will have to be ordered as a bespoke piece from a specialist manufacturer.

It was too early to say how much the total repair and replacement costs would be, she added.

The building was officially opened on May 21, 1897 by Queen Victoria.

The ramps on either side of the entrance were installed in 1998.

The incident is the latest in a long line of metal thefts, often targeting empty council houses, electricity substations and railway signalling.

Copper and lead are commonly stolen, but their value has fallen in recent months.