'Metal thieves' steal rail bridge in Russia
A criminal case has been launched in Russia's Arctic region of Murmansk after suspected metal thieves made off with a railway bridge.
Local prosecutors say the unknown perpetrators removed a metal structure 23m long and weighing 56 tonnes from the bridge - its main central span.
The disused bridge is located in a remote forest near the abandoned settlement of Oktyabrskaya, around 170km (100 miles) south of the regional capital, Murmansk.
Luckily, the bridge was disused and the tracks lifted long ago, according to state newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta.
The railway over the bridge was once used to transport concentrated rare earth elements from a nearby plant, but was closed when the business went bankrupt in 2007, the daily said.
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Residents first noticed the disappearing bridge in May.
A picture posted on the Russian social network VK showed that the bridge was already missing its central section.
But a chunk can still be seen resting in the middle of the river, suggesting the structure was first brought down and then taken apart piecemeal.
The post's anonymous writer predicted that the two remaining end sections would be "eyesores" for a long time to come.
"Ah, who cares - this isn't Germany, and restoring order to the vandalised landscape is not high on the agenda," the writer added.
Despite the apparently spectacular nature of the theft, the damage caused is estimated at only 600,000 roubles ($9,000) to the local company that owns the structure, according to the Znak news website.
The theft of metal objects by thieves interested in their scrap value has long been a problem in Russia.
In 2017, a 10m-long Soviet-era anti-aircraft missile exploded at a recycling centre, apparently after being sold for scrap.
Reporting by Adam Robinson
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