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Thieves who stole a holocaust memorial plaque in Essex have been branded "callous".
The bronze plaque commemorating the victims of the Nazi holocaust was stolen from a remembrance garden in Harlow.
Harlow Council is now commissioning a new plaque to be made from granite as they believe this will be less tempting to thieves who are increasingly stealing metal to sell for scrap value.
Andrew Johnson, leader of Harlow Council, called for tighter regulation of the scrap industry and tough penalties for thieves to stop what appeared to be an "epidemic" in thefts of memorial plaques.
He said: "There has to be a deterrent to stop what is a deeply disturbing trend.
"People who are prepared to steal a plaque honouring the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution are clearly without conscience and are unlikely to be intimidated by a minor fine.
"The other people equally guilty are those who are prepared to melt these metals down and I think the time has come to look at tighter regulation for the scrap business.
"If we can stop thieves turning these callous thefts into cash, it will be a powerful deterrent."
The 18in square plaque was prised out of its metal setting in a paving slab from the Holocaust Memorial Garden off Waterhouse Moor in the town.