Theft of memorials, particularly bronze plaques and statues, is an increasing problem. The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association estimates theft of public art (of which a large proportion are war memorials) rose by 500% in 2006. While this still affects a relatively small number of total memorials, each theft represents a potentially irreplaceable loss for a community.
Many are never found, but there are things that can be done to aid recovery. A recent example of this was a bronze plaque stolen from a church in Middlesbrough. After being widely publicised in local and national press, it was discovered two days later by a scrap metal dealer. A man has now been charged with the theft.