GARDAÍ IN Dublin are investigating after two of the capital’s bandstands were stripped of roofing material in the last week.
In the early hours of yesterday morning, thieves took the lead sheeting from the roof of the bandstand in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. Last Friday, the roof of the bandstand in the Phoenix Park Hollow was also stripped.
The value of lead and other metals has increased over the last few years and has resulted in the targeting of heritage buildings, sculptures and metal playground equipment.
Gardaí have estimated the value of the lead from the National Botanic Gardens bandstand at €4,000.
Staff at the gardens discovered the theft when they came on duty at 8am yesterday.
Thieves are believed to have entered the 19.5 hectares of gardens from the adjacent Glasnevin Cemetery. A CCTV camera at a gate to the cemetery next to the Gravediggers pub was disabled and the thieves are thought to have climbed into the gardens.
The roofing material on the bandstand, which serves as a seating area and is located relatively close to the wall with the cemetery, was “very neatly” rolled up and removed, director of the gardens Matthew Jebb told The Irish Times. The underlay had been left behind undamaged.
A copper and bronze sculpture of a warrior was also taken, Mr Jebb said, but this was found abandoned in the graveyard. The bandstand had been refurbished two years ago and it would cost “many thousands” to repair it.
Mr Jebb said estimates were being sought for the work and the replacement of the lead with other materials such as terracotta tiles was being considered. The theft was “very upsetting” and unexpected, he said, and served as a reminder to the gardens to check their security, which had been primarily focused on other buildings within the gardens.
The theft at the Phoenix Park bandstand, opposite Dublin Zoo, took place just before the bank holiday weekend. The Office of Public Works, which runs the park, said the matter was being investigated by gardaí and it would not be commenting further.
A Garda spokesman said both thefts were being investigated.
Gardaí had established a Metal Theft Stakeholder Forum to help tackle metal theft in Ireland, he said. “Gardaí would also advise any businesses or individuals who are involved in this area to contact their local Garda crime prevention officer who will be able to advise them on security,” the spokesman said.