Brazen thieves have taken to stealing garden gates in broad daylight to make £5 a time selling them for scrap.

Homes and businesses across the north of Croydon have been targeted over the past few weeks as opportunistic criminals look to make an easy profit.

Dennis Brown, who runs D Solo’s clothes shop in Crystal Palace, had the security gate stolen from his business while he popped across the road for breakfast.

He said: “Someone just came along, picked it up and walked off.

“I’ve spoken to other people and other gates and bits of metal are going missing - I’ve even heard they are going into people’s houses and taking scrap.”

Sergeant Cliff Baxter from South Norwood’s Safer Neighbourhood Team(SNT) urged people to get in touch if they had been targeted.

He said: “It’s not uncommon for metal to be stolen - in the past we’ve had churches stripped of lead and the railways have had copper cables nicked, but it’s not particularly common for people to have private property stolen.

“People probably think ‘no one’s going to steal my front gate’, but if someone can get a £40 gate and sell it for a fiver for scrap they will.

“If you see someone carrying a garden gate down the street people don’t immediately think it must be stolen.

“Some people think the police can’t help or won’t take it seriously.

“I can assure you that we are, but it can be quite a difficult job to find gates and things if they’ve been taken for scrap.”

Anyone with information can call the SNT direct on 020 8649 1323, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.