‘Priceless’ stolen fence pieces recovered

2015-10-13 11:15
Pentridge Scrap Metals and Recycling owner Errol Du Plessis holds up pieces of the fence that had been stolen from Macrorie House Museum.

Pentridge Scrap Metals and Recycling owner Errol Du Plessis holds up pieces of the fence that had been stolen from Macrorie House Museum. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - The Macrorie House Museum has ­recovered some of their 150-year-old fence after a good Samaritan found ­pieces of it at his scrapyard.

Pentridge Scrap Metals and ­Recycling owner Errol du Plessis started his day like any other yesterday, not knowing that his scrap yard would be the targeted point of sale of the thieves who stole “priceless” cast-iron fences from the museum.

The pieces of the fence, believed to be 150 years old, were taken to the scrap yard by a man who told Du Plessis that he had found them in a bush nearby.

Immediately becoming suspicious, Du Plessis said after inquiring with his brother, they both realised the ­cast-iron cut into little pieces was the same stolen fencing reported in The Witness last week.

Du Plessis immediately alerted the police and held the man until they arrived.

Battling to contact the Macrorie House Museum, Du Plessis called The Witness, who put him in contact with museum curator Roxanne Thomas.

Pietermaritzburg police ­spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said one man has been arrested for the possession of stolen property.

It is unknown at this stage whether the man was part of the gang who stole the fencing.

Thomas said she was overjoyed when she got the news.

Last week, the museum ­appealed to scrapyards to be on the lookout for their fences, which were stolen over that weekend.

Only a day after the appeal was made, the thieves returned during the day and brazenly removed more of the fencing.

Thomas said it was at that point when the decision was made to remove all the cast-iron fencing surrounding their property.

“I just want to thank The Witness for helping us create awareness and to the scrapyard owner who reported the stolen fencing to the police so ­promptly,” Thomas said.

Although the decision has not been finalised, she said the museum may ­replace all the cast-iron fences with wooden fencing, the same type used when the building was first erected

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  theft

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