Bricks: London’s unexpected crime wave leaves home owners mortar-fied

Home owners in London have been left mortar-fied by the capital's latest crime wave, which is targeting an increasingly expensive resource: bricks.

Home owners in London have been left mortar-fied by the capital’s latest crime wave, which is targeting an increasingly expensive resource: bricks.

Police are now investigating more than 30 instances of brick theft in East London, reports the Evening Standard, as burglars forget breaking into homes and just break down the walls instead.

It might sound bizarre, but bricks have become an increasingly valuable commodity in the UK. There is a general shortage of bricks after years of slow construction activity, but there are also many types. For Georgian-era “London stock” properties, yellow bricks are brick of choice, once cheap in Georgian times but now much more costly. In strict conservation areas, some councils insist that extension or other work on a property must use those irreplaceble bricks – yellow with a black fleck – to maintain the style and appearance of the building.

Now, thefts are being reported in Waltham Forest, Newham and other boroughs in London, with churchs and cemeterys fending off robbers. Even garden walls are being targeted, as the bricks can now fetch up to £15 on the black market.

“It’s a strange phenomenon but it does not diminish the distress when vans are literally driving into people’s front gardens in broad daylight,” Clyde Loakes, the deputy leader of Waltham Forest council, told the paper.

“There are examples of people driving into the garden walls to dislodge as many bricks as possible, scoop them up and then drive off.”

Photo: Mile End Residents

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