Residents of London suburb, Dorking, awoke this morning to discover that thieves had stolen every last scrap of metal from the town.
"They came in during the night," said police inspector, Devon Cumbria. "They've taken street lamps, park benches, manhole covers, grids and street signs."
Local metal traders have been asked to be on the look out for any metal with street names written on them, as this is a give away that the item has been stolen.
"Especially if it says Mansion Avenue," said DI Cumbria. "That's my road sign."
Police had hoped that CCTV could identify the culprits. Unfortunately, part of the street furniture stolen first was all the CCTV cameras.
"The bastards even took the metal meshes around the cameras," said DI Cumbria.
Current estimates suggest that seven hundred thousand tonnes of steel, three hundred thousand tonnes of aluminium and four hundred thousand tonnes of miscellaneous metals have been taken from Dorking. Including the "Dorking Welcomes Careful Drivers" sign, and the speed camera just round the blind bend. The metal is estimated at over a hundred pounds in value on the black market, but will cost at least twice that to replace.
"This is not a victimless crime," said Cumbria. "The residents of Dorking are waking up to a town that cannot have it's post delivered, because the postmen cannot find the right streets. There are no longer any crash barriers or railings, and all of the traffic lights have gone. Our streets are dangerous now."
One family had to be rescued by the coastguard when they got lost in their housing estate. In the town centre, the local music shop will not be able to open, as all their Heavy and Thrash metal has also been stolen.
"We urge anybody with any information to come forward," said Cumbria. "Although they'll have to find a policeman, as all the mobile phone masts have been taken too."