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Russian police are hunting scrap metal thieves who stole a 200-tonne metal bridge in a night-time raid.

The bridge in Khabarovsk in eastern Russia vanished overnight and was part of the only road leading to a local heating plant.

Now staff at the plant have to find alternative routes to work.

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Missing bridge: Staff at a heating plant were astonished when they discovered the bridge to work had been stolen

Bosses at the company said that the cost of replacing the bridge would be ten times the value of the scrap metal.

The bridge was made of four steel pipes half a metre in diameter and covered with steel plates.

The thieves worked at night when there was no one around, which allowed them to dismantle and remove the heavy construction without anyone noticing, a spokesman for the heating plant said.

Local workers arrived at the bridge in the morning to discover that the only direct route to work had disappeared.

The company estimates the bridge will cost over £20,000 to replace and will be made of reinforced concrete, instead of steel.
 
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