Police fear valuable iron benches removed from Pateley Bridge Recreational Park may have been targeted by scrap metal thieves, but they may be able to intercept any sale.
Three black benches were stolen, and in each case the wooden seating planks were ripped off and left at the scene.
North Yorkshire Police report the iron frames, in the shape of serpents, are valuable in their own right.
A force spokesman said: “On the night of Saturday, September 6, three benches were stolen from Pateley Bridge recreation park.
“The iron frames may have gone as scrap and are valuable in their own right.”
However, the force may be able to locate the sellers, through its metal theft crackdown initiative, Operation Tornado. The initiative requires anyone selling scrap metal to the registered dealers to provide their ID and address.
A police spokesman said: “This investigation is part of the on-going metal theft Operation Tornado, which was launched earlier this year, in a bid to restrict the movement of stolen metal.”
The removal reflects a national rise in metal theft. There were between 80,000-100,000 police recorded metal theft offences in 2010/11, and metal theft costs the UK £750m per year.
Anyone with information should call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option two and ask for Graham Tetley.