You have 2 more free articles remaining

Locals have been calling for help in stopping the crimewave.

The six missing troughs are from Penge, Bell Green, Downham and Chislehurst with the latest two taken from Coombe Lane and Widmore Green.

Coombe Lane local Terence Meredith, who tends the Coombe Wood Garden and plants in the Coombe Lane trough, said: “It was a solid granite trough so weighed a great deal. These thieves are well prepared and have a market somewhere for them. I fear for the half dozen other troughs in the borough.”

The Widmore Green trough was stolen on the night of November 16/17. This trough has Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Association inscribed on both sides.

The Coombe Lane trough also has the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Association inscription, but only on one side. On the back it is engraved with The gift of James Spurrier Wright 1889.

Residents’ associations, councils and the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association have called for help to try to trace the stolen items.

The thefts have been reported to the police, local councils, English Heritage, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, The Royal Horticultural Society, The National Trust and The Art Loss Register, and various media have been alerted.

Historian Alan Underwood has catalogued and created a database of many of the community troughs and has been helping in collating information about the thefts.

Anyone with information should call the police on 101. Regarding the Penge theft, use the police crime reference number 3320094/19, for Chislehurst use the number 3320566/19 and for Coombe Lane it is 3838235/19.

The previous thefts of the troughs were reported in Antiques Trade Gazette.

Underwood has researched the beginnings of the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association (MDFCTA) that had installed many of the troughs. It was founded in 1859 and has since changed its name to the Drinking Fountain Association