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Stolen bronze memorial plaques from Beckenham cemetery restored and returned to owners
Bronze memorial plaques stolen and broken into pieces from cemeteries across the area have been restored and returned to their owners.
Names on the reconstructed plaques were checked against cemeteries targeted, including Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery, and relatives informed.
Officers from Selsdon and Ballards Safer Neighbourhood Team have dedicated about 40 staff days to piecing together tiny shards from 98 plaques.
A further 187 intact plaques, recovered during a police raid on a Croydon scrap metal dealer, have also been returned.
Sergeant George Shannon, from the SNT, said: "This has been extremely difficult, as all the pieces are the same colour and are all tiny fragments so has taken an amazing amount of work.
"Many officers have worked overtime and everyone has known the importance of the work."
Croydon MP Gavin Barwell discovered last month his father's grave, at Beckenham Cemetery, was one of those desecrated.
That plaque has not been recovered but he praised the police effort.
He said: "I am delighted for all the families who have been reunited with the stolen plaques. My father's has not been recovered but there are still pieces remaining to work on."
The owner of the scrap metal yard and an employee have been charged in connection with the raid.