By Rory Reynolds
RESIDENTS in one of Scotland’s plushest areas have been awaking to find their polished brass door plates have been stolen by thieves.
A recent spate of raids on the cappuccino avenues of the Edinburgh’s New Town district have led to police launching an investigation to track down the thieves.
It is thought they are cashing-in on the rising cost of scrap metal and stripping the plates to sell.
Two people have already been arrested and charged in connection with one robbery on Iona Street – but three other incidents are currently still under investigation.
Peter Verity, 65, who lives in Scotland Street – famed for its setting for Alexander McCall Smith‘s series of high-society novels – had his brass kick plate stolen during the night.The retired architect said it was unsettling to think that thieves were roaming the streets of the city armed with screwdrivers.
He said: “It had been screwdrivered off during the night and taken away – some of the screws were even left nearby on the ground.
“I can only see it’s of minor benefit to the people stealing them, but it’s a major nuisance to us.”
“Our street is pleasant and relatively quiet – the thought of meeting a thief at the front door with a screwdriver in his hand is certainly not a nice thought.
“I have noticed quite a few gaps on doors recently where it is obvious brass kick plates should be, but are not.
“It doesn’t look good and ultimately costs us all money to replace them.”
Peter said that he was quoted up to £150 for a replacement brass plate, presenting thieves with a lucrative opportunity to make a quick buck.
A spokeswoman for scrap metal processor Bernard Hunter said: “The value of the brass will be determined by its weight – we offer around £600 per tonne.
“The police were in touch to let us know what had been happening. The brass will probably be quite old and therefore good quality.”
Local councillor Maggie Chapman said: “I have been told about this from many different people, all concerned about the thefts.”
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that three incidents involving missing brass plates are currently under investigation, while two people have been arrested in connection with a robbery on Iona Street on 4 August.
The thefts are the latest in a recent spate of precious metal thefts.
Last September thieves risked death to steal a signalling cable from a railway network in the Lothians, while in June last year two huge bronze propellers from the Royal Yacht Britannia were taken from a warehouse in Leith.
The propellers were 7ft each and would have been heavy lifting gear to remove from the premises.
In May last year, 10 grates and a manhole cover were stolen in Bathgate, while 40 drain covers were lifted from the streets of Portobello.