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Russian steel bridge stolen for scrap

A steel 11.5m long road bridge was stolen in Khabarovsk, Russia's Far East, local officials said on Saturday.

The bridge was made of four steel pipes half a metre in diameter and covered with steel plates. It is likely that the thieves stole the bridge to sell it for scrap.

It is reported that the thieves worked at night when there was no-one around, which enabled them to dismantle and remove the heavy construction.

Local workers arrived at the bridge on Saturday morning to discover that the only direct route to a thermal power station had disappeared.

"The total loss sustained to the bridge-owner by the theft is estimated at 400,000 rubles (£8,290). However, repair works will cost the energy company over a million rubles (£20,730)," a spokesman told Russian press.

The spokesperson added that the new bridge will be made of reinforced concrete, instead of steel and repair works will take at least a month.

It is not the first time a bridge has been stolen. A 5-metre span metal bridge disappeared from a river crossing in the Ryazan region, east of Moscow, Russia in August 2007 and a 10 tonne, 115 year old steel railway bridge disappeared from Howard Springs, 35 kilometres south of Darwin, Australia ni November 2004

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