Friday, October 18, 2013
The two coping stones appear to have been forcibly removed and taken from the ancient and listed bridge.
AN ancient bridge in Torrington has been left in a dangerous condition after allegedly being targeted by thieves.
The two coping stones, estimated to be worth around £3,000, are believed to have been forcibly removed from the parapet of Rothern Bridge.
A police spokesman said the crime by the Puffing Billy pub was committed at some point on September 17, but the matter was reported to officers on October 8.
The stones are triangular in shape and around 1.5m in size.
Councillor Harold Martin, Torrington town mayor, said: “Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen stones and repairing the damage done by what we believe must have been a flatbed lorry, why would anyone want to destroy a piece of Torrington’s great heritage?”
The bridge, which is officially a listed building and ancient monument, was left dangerous for walkers, children, and animals, and temporary safety measures have had to be put in place by Devon County Council.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highways, said: “Devon County Council has been working with Torridge District Council to try and prevent further wanton destruction of this Ancient Monument.
“To make further removal of masonry difficult, local bridge inspector Ian Glover has installed temporary stones until either the original ones are returned, or replacement copings are located.
“If this is a case of theft we take it very seriously.”
Rothern Bridge is one of only three safe places to cross the River Torridge, although most traffic now uses the A386 and ‘new’ bridge.
Sarah Chappell, Torridge District Council’s conservation officer, added: “Rothern Bridge spans the parish boundary for Great Torrington and Monkleigh and is a remnant of a bygone age.
“It is a monument of significant historical value and we would all like to see the original two coping stones returned.”
Anyone who saw anything suspicious or knows the whereabouts of the stones, is urged to contact police on non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, quoting crime ref: CT/13/556.
Alternatively contact Sarah Chappell on 01237 428742 or email email@example.com.