The mystery of missing ‘love locks’ which disappeared from a city bridge appears to have been solved after a Chronicle reader caught a disapproving killjoy removing them with a cutting device.
Last Thursday night, Luke Moore and a friend paid a visit to the Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge after hearing that more than 70 padlocks, which had been placed there by couples as a declaration of love , had mysteriously disappeared.
When they got there the pair were shocked to witness a man standing at the bridge with large lock cutters, attempting to remove the remaining padlocks.
Luke, 31, a freelance composer from Hoole, described the man as ‘middle-aged, well dressed’ and speaking with a southern accent.
He shot a video on his phone which we have posted with this story. The picture quality is poor but there is a clear audio of the exchange with the man.
When he asked what the man was doing, he became ‘hostile’ and said he had ‘a right’ to cut the locks off the bridge as a Chester citizen because they were ‘defacing’ the bridge.
“He began putting the locks in his pocket and walked off in the direction of Handbridge before throwing the locks on to the ground and into people’s gardens,” recalled Luke, who filmed the incident on his mobile phone.
“I like to keep my finger on the pulse of all goings on in Chester so I thought I would film it because it’s become a much talked about issue and also in case the man became violent. I believed he was committing a criminal act.
“Yes, you take your own risk by putting the locks out there but you don’t expect this.
“I explained to him it was a lovely thing to do and it meant something to many people, and he just said it was vandalism, but isn’t taking it upon himself to remove them classed as criminal damage?
“The whole thing was just so surreal,” Luke added.
“To get uptight about a bridge that you don’t even own is ridiculous.
“The whole thing seemed to be purely motivated by his anger that he thought it was vandalism.
“When something like this happens it’s like someone’s declaring war on love - I don’t think it’s fair.
“I’m a bit of an old romantic and I'm quite fond of the padlocks, even if it’s not everyone's cup of tea.
“But I don't think it's any individual's place to destroy other people's property, they mean a lot to so many people,” he said.
Cheshire West and Chester Council spokesperson Ian Callister said the council would not be taking any action over the padlocks, only two of which remain as The Chronicle went to press.
“In terms of cutting the locks off, there is no damage to the bridge and if it was perceived to be vandalism or criminal damage it would then be an issue for the police, should they believe such an offence has been committed,” he said.
Sgt Andy Burrage from Cheshire police said: “We have had no reports of any thefts or criminal damage relating to the missing locks and at present there is no investigation.
“If someone was to contact us with any concerns we would take a considered approach to how we’d go about dealing with it.
“If Mr Moore wanted to contact us and provide us with the video evidence we would certainly be happy to look at it.”