Neyland Brunel statue stolen from plinth

Brunel statue The community raised £30,000 to commission the statue

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An 8ft (2.4m) statue of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel has been stolen from a quayside in Pembrokeshire.

Police believe the bronze statue, which cost £30,000 when erected in July 1999, was taken overnight in Neyland.

Officers say lifting equipment must have been used to remove it intact from its plinth at Brunel Quay.

The statue by the late sculptor Robert Thomas, who also created the Aneurin Bevan statue in Cardiff city centre, was unveiled by the Prince of Wales.

Metal thefts have become increasingly common this year as the price of most metals has risen.

County councillor Simon Hancock said: "It was both public art and a tribute to Isambard Kingdom Brunel from our community.

"It's a crime against our community. Ordinary people started coming down and looking [at the plinth] in disbelief.

"I thought somebody was pulling my leg [about the theft] but it was true unfortunately."

He added: "The plinth is there and the supporting rods are sticking out and it's really sad to see that it's been stolen."

Bridges and viaducts

The theft comes three weeks after an 1899 statue of a boy, Joyance, by Victorian sculptor Sir William Goscombe John was cut from the water fountain in Thompson's Park, Canton, Cardiff.

BBC Wales archive: Wales Today reported the statue's royal unveiling in July 1999.

Mr Hancock said Neyland was proud of its connection to Brunel, who is best known for his construction of a network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts for the Great Western Railway.

"We've always had the view that Brunel is the founder of the community by bringing the railway in 1856," he said.

"We've always been very proud of that connection.

Start Quote

In 1989 we set up a committee for a suitable monument for Brunel and it took us about 10 years to raise the money”

End Quote Simon Hancock Neyland councillor

"In 1989 we set up a committee for a suitable monument for Brunel and it took us about 10 years to raise the money.

"We raised about £30,000. It's a very substantial bronze statue and was the work of the late Robert Thomas.

"He died in April 1999 just weeks before the statue was unveiled."

Mr Hancock said he presumed the statue had been stolen because of the value of its bronze.

"I'm hoping the police can find it. Even if it was damaged, it could still be repairable," he said.

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