Southwark defies art thefts to consult on replacements

Precious art is to keep its place in public landscapes such as parks despite recent thefts, local authority chiefs have resolved.

The London Borough of Southwark is consulting locals on options for its artwork after a Barbara Hepworth sculpture in Dulwich Park and a statue of the MP Alfred Salter at Cherry Garden Pier were wrenched from their plinths by thieves (HW, 13 January).

Despite financial rewards being offered, neither work has been recovered. It is believed that they were sold on as scrap metal at a fraction of their true value.

Councillor Veronica Ward said: "We will not be bowed by thieves and vandals and art will remain on display for everyone to enjoy."

A working group of residents, art institutions, council officers and councillors is exploring options to replace the Hepworth in Dulwich Park.

Meanwhile, a group of local residents including Alfred Salter's great niece have set up a fundraising campaign for a new statue and security kit, with a target of £100,000.

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