Strymonas Bridge being picked apart by metal thieves

A bridge crossing the Strymonas River between the villages of Vyroneia and Gonimo in Serres, northern Greece, is gradually disappearing as scrap metal collectors are picking it clean.

According to local authorities, over half of the bridge, which was constructed in the 1960s by the army and has been out of use for several years, has been appropriated by scrappers, who sell stolen metal at a tidy profit.

?The situation is getting very bad in Serres,? said municipal councilor Efthymios Spanidis.

?[The scrappers] have torn off around 60 percent of the bridge; they steal wrought iron railings, manhole covers, electricity converters and anything else than contains iron or copper.?

Police investigating the rising volume of theft of public property believe scrapping to be an organized criminal activity that is rampant across the Balkan region.

?We have intercepted entire trucks filled with pilfered copper cabling, metal equipment and grills destined for Bulgaria,? Serres police chief Stefanos Mandylas added.