Stolen East End war memorial is returned

A WAR memorial which was stolen from the East End has been recovered by police.

The metal plaque was taken from a memorial of 16 tablets commemorating the dead of both world wars at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Thieves tried to prise out a second plaque from the granite, damaging the stone, but were thwarted in their attempt earlier this month.

It had originally been estimated that it would cost �10,000 to replace the plaque and make good the damage - the repair bill should be lower.

The plaque was found in a skip at a scrap dealers at Newham and handed in to police in Bow Road last Friday (August 20).

It was delivered back to the park by police from the police store in Limehouse and it is thought that the plaque had been languishing in the skip for about a week.

A delighted Ken Greenway from the cemetery park in Southern Grove said: “It’s great to have it back. We never thought we would get it returned and that it was long gone.”

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Experts from the War Graves Commission will assess the damage and pick up the tab to repair it.

One of the Friends of the Cemetery Park phoned round scrap dealers to warn them that the plaque might be offered to them for sale.

Len Page who organises Poppy Day collections for the Royal British Legion in Poplar and Millwall said: “That’s terrific news that it’s been returned. It’s a shame that there will still be a cost involved in putting it back and repairing any damage.”

It is thought that thieves were under the impression the plaque was made of bronze and they could sell it, however scrap bronze has a low value and it was a distinctive item which would be difficult to sell.

Meanwhile the park is holding its AGM at 7pm on Thursday September 9 and all are welcome.