Controversial Artwork Target of Metal Thieves

The Journal (Newcastle, England), October 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Controversial Artwork Target of Metal Thieves


Byline: Ruth Lawson

ACONTROVERSIAL million-pound public art installation has been sabotaged by metal thieves. Thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused to the Blue Carpet artwork outside the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle following the theft, which is the latest in a long line of stolen metal offences in the region.

The pounds 1.6m concrete square design, which consists of 22,500 blue paving slabs, was defaced by thieves in a late-night operation to steal the bronze border plates that surround the art.

Officers say the offenders struck shortly after 11pm on Wednesday, October 5, before making off with what police would only confirm to be thousands of pounds worth of bronze.

It's believed the offence is linked to an earlier theft of stolen bronze plates from the artwork on Sunday, September 25, when thieves stole a much smaller amount of the expensive plating.

Bosses at Newcastle City Council, which maintains the artwork, said they will be working with police in the coming days to review CCTV footage from a number of cameras in the area in a bid to identify the culprits.

Michael Murphy, the council's director of technical services, said: "We are disappointed that people have damaged such an important piece of public art and we would urge anyone with information about this theft to come forward and contact the police. …

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