from Financial Times

Hepworth sculpture latest target of ‘scrap metal’ thieves

By Helen Warless

‘Two Forms (Divided Circle)’ by Barbara Hepworth

‘Two Forms (Divided Circle)’ by Barbara Hepworth, taken from Dulwich Park, London

An enormous bronze sculpture by Barbara Hepworth which was wrenched from its plinth in a south London park is thought to be the latest in a string of artworks to have been targeted by the country’s metal thieves.

The 2m-high sculpture, “Two Forms (Divided Circle)” had been on display in Dulwich Park for more than 40 years and is insured for £500,000. It was removed on Monday night by criminals who broke through the park gates, drove up to the artwork, hacked through the base and took it away.

Police forces around the UK have admitted they are struggling to contain the rise in metal thefts spurred by soaring copper, lead and bronze prices. Railway lines, phone and electricity cables and even bus stops have been hauled off by criminals cashing in on the high demand for scrap metal. MPs concerned that thieves have turned their attention to war memorials, commemorative plaques and valuable sculptures have called on the government to give the police more powers to crack down on scrap dealers who ultimately buy the stolen metal.

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