BUNGLING thieves hacked their way into Cleckheaton town hall with a chainsaw to get their hands on civic silverware worth thousands of pounds.
But the raid – at midnight on Tuesday – was foiled when sparks from the saw set off the fire alarm.
Raiders were after the Spenborough Borough collection of silverware, including ceremonial chains, a mace and an antique spoon dated 1680.
The chains and mace date back to 1955 when the municipal borough of Spenborough was created.
The commemorative plates were presented to the Mayor of Spenborough at events held in the 1950s.
The thieves got into the town hall by sawing through a window, then tried to hack into the silver cabinet through a wall, but gave up when they realised it was reinforced with metal.
They went straight through a solid wooden door before smashing the glass front of the cabinet.
They set off both the fire alarm and burglar alarm in the process.
Coun Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleck) said sparks from the chainsaw set off the fire alarm and the suspects fled.
She said: “It’s outrageous that people should think it’s okay to do this – to come in to a public building with a chainsaw and destroy everything in their way.
“It’s very shocking because this sort of thing doesn’t happen in Cleckheaton.
“I’m pleased nothing was stolen because this is Spenborough’s heritage and history, and it would be a tragedy if any of that was ever taken.”
Coun Pinnock praised town hall supervisor Dean Rounding, who set off from home in Mirfield to the town hall as the alarm sounded and arrived within minutes.
The silver is now in safe-keeping in Huddersfield– but Coun Pinnock said Kirklees Council should improve security at the town hall so it could go back on display.
She added: “It’s something people like to see when they go to the town hall.”