Drivers at risk after road signs stolen

SERIAL road sign thieves have plundered west Suffolk villages once again, prompting police to renew appeals for any information.

Russell Claydon

SERIAL road sign thieves have plundered west Suffolk villages once again, prompting police to renew appeals for any information.

In a two week period 20 villages have been hit mainly around the Bury St Edmunds area, taking away vital driver information.

It is feared the missing signs, which include those indicating junctions, could lead to accidents on Suffolk's rural road network.

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Police believe the thieves are stealing the metal signs to melt down and sell on amid rising prices and have been contacting local scrap dealers for information.

One of the worst incidents between July 12 and July 24 took place in Hargrave where seven road signs have been stolen from the village, including chevrons, two junction signs, a horse rider warning sign and a reduce speed now sign.

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In the same timeframe 12 were taken from Brent Eleigh including chevrons and village name signs while nine road signs were stolen from Ousden and eight from Elmswell. Six were taken from Stanningfield and Honington and four from Great Whelnetham.

The other villages who have fallen prey to the thieves are Thurston, Bardwell, Troston, Great Livermere, Nowton, Bradfield St George, Hengrave, Little Saxham, Chevington, Lavenham, Glemsford, Cockfield and Cavendish.

It comes after 22 road signs were taken from Bradfield St George earlier in July in a crime wave overnight on Tuesday, July 7 amongst many other incidents of a similar nature.

Suffolk County Council, who is responsible for the road signs, have already revealed they are considering making plastic signs to put an end to the spree and stop the taxpayer being hit.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police previously warned: “The theft of these signs is irresponsible and could put road users in danger.

“A variety of signs have been stolen - some were placed on these rural roads to indicate diversions and their removal will have led to much frustration for drivers, and any larger vehicles using these routes would have potentially ended up on unsuitable country lanes, putting themselves and other road users at risk.

“The removal of those signs which indicate junctions, railway bridges and speed limits could lead to large vehicles striking the bridges, or any vehicle overshooting a junction or driving too fast in a village.”

Anyone with information about the removal of signs listed, or any others, is urged to contact Suffolk police's St Edmundsbury Rural Safer Neighbourhood Teams on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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