Postcard from... Germany
The thieves came in broad daylight to Gross Ridsenow, a tiny hamlet set in the gently rolling landscape of eastern Germany just a few miles inland from the Baltic.
They parked their lorry outside the church, strolled inside, climbed its tower and cooly removed the 500-year-old bronze bell hanging in the belfry. Then they heaved their 600kg booty on to the back of their truck and drove away.
Nobody in sparsely populated Gross Ridsenow noticed. "Nothing is sacred to some people," complained Pastor Thomas Kretschmann. The theft was nothing new. According to Hendrik Stens, curator of Germany's authoritative Bell Museum, the country is y in the grip of a bell robbing epidemic. The thieves are lured by the rocketing price of copper.
Because of its high copper content Gross Ridsenow's bell was worth ¤20,000. The price of copper has increased fivefold over the past decade and church bells are not the only items being stolen. There has also been big increase in the theft of copper guttering, building site copper wire, and overhead railway cables.
Gross Ridsenow's bell has turned up but it will never ring again. Police found it smashed to pieces at a breaker's yard in the nearby port city of Rostock. The thieves were given ¤1,600 for it. Unwittingly they were also filmed by a surveillance camera. The police are unlikely to have much difficulty finding them. Such news is no consolation the Bell Museum's Hendrik Stens: "The bell's soul has been lost forever," he says.
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassing leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Israel-Gaza crisis: ‘We just want it to end… We don’t deserve to live like this’
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Up to 20% bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: If working in an out...
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking an ex...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to be that t...