Iconic metal security gates have been stolen from a park in St Helens, Merseyside, as thieves continue to plague the area.

It is just one of a host of crimes which has seen criminals target fencing, metal railings and gates across the town. Thieves managed to take one of the gates, which had been designed by St Helens children, and part of the metal footbridge in this latest incident.

The town's council has condemned the action and said that the gates were seen as "irreplaceable pieces of street art". Criminals left broken hacksaws and cutting tools at the site which have been passed onto the police.

Councillor Alison Bacon, cabinet member for environmental protection, told the St Helens Star: "It is heartbreaking to witness. What makes this worse is that we believe that the metal is being melted down in scrap yards many miles away from St Helens."

A number of authorities across the country have launched initiatives to help clamp down on metal theft with the Scottish government unveiling a new taskforce in a bid to combat the problem.

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