Bridge forced to shut as thieves strip 900m of stainless steel wire

Puddlers BridgeA bridge in South Wales has been forced to close for several weeks on safety grounds after thieves stole huge sections of the structure.

The Puddlers Bridge in Pentrebach, Merthy Tydfil, links Pentrebach with the town centre over the busy A4060 and was opened by fashion designer Julien Macdonald, originally from the town, in February 2012.

Over 912 metres of stainless steel wire have been stolen from the parapet on both approach ramps and the Council has been forced to shut the bridge due to safety fears. It is believed the thieves struck between 5pm on Tuesday April 2 and 10am on Friday April 5.

The bridge was built as part of a national project by the charity Sustrans’ to create new walking and cycling routes in the UK and part-funded from a £50 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund to promote tourism in the Welsh Valleys.

The well-used bridge is expected to remain shut for a number of weeks and South Wales Police have appealed for information relating to anyone acting suspiciously around the area prior to the theft of the stainless steel wire.

Local Policing Inspector Clare Hallett said: “These mindless and reckless thieves have put the safety of the public in danger. The wire was vital for the safety of people using the bridge, so it is lucky no incidents have occurred as a result.”

Merthyr council cabinet member David Jones said he was “extremely disappointed and angered” that thieves have resulted in a closure of the popular bridge.

“We work hard with our partners to bring funding into the area to improve and regenerate the County Borough and mindless individuals not only undo all the hard work, but leaves us with a problem of which we have to find additional money to rectify,” he added.

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