A widow says she is “devastated” after a memorial bench for her husband - a ‘Brent Community Champion’ -  was stolen from a park.

Sheila, who paid for the memorial outdoor furniture in a “special” spot in remembrance to her late husband Martin Redston, is only the latest to lose a loved-one's bench to thieves.

It is believed at least three other benches have also been stolen from Gladstone Park in recent weeks.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Martin played a key role in saving the Willesden Old Library and Queensbury Public HouseMartin played a key role in saving the Willesden Old Library and Queensbury Public House (Image: Family submitted)

Instead of seeing the wooden seating, there is now just an empty concrete slab with the furniture “cleanly” taken away.

It is estimated that thieves would have taken it between the evening of October 1 and the early morning of October 2.

Brent & Kilburn Times: The location of the stolen benchThe location of the stolen bench (Image: Family handout)

She said: “I could not believe it; I didn’t even cry, I just went totally numb when I saw it was gone. I still can’t believe it.”

After seeing the empty spot, she initially thought “surely nobody would just take it” and assumed Brent Council might have taken it for refurbishment.

Brent & Kilburn Times: The bench before it was stolenThe bench before it was stolen (Image: Family handout)

But after talking with the Friends of Gladstone Park, she discovered there had been other similar thefts.

Sheila continued: “My feeling is it’s the newer benches that have been targeted because presumably it’s become a business for these thieves, and they see value in trading them.”

She hopes the benches will be promptly restored and given more secure bolts to prevent future thefts.

Brent & Kilburn Times: The plaque reads: ' Look around, smile and remember MARTIN REDSTON Brent Community Champion'The plaque reads: ' Look around, smile and remember MARTIN REDSTON Brent Community Champion' (Image: Family handout)

This was not the first time that there has been an issue, as the central arm was vandalised earlier this year and a handyman was sent to repair the badly damaged seat.

Martin’s bench was first put up in August 2022, following his death in February that year.

Born in 1949, the Willesden-based structural and civil engineer made a name for himself in the community as the chairman of Brent Arts Council, the co-chair of Keep Willesden Green and the chair of Madhatters Theatre Club in the borough.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Martin pictured in a previous Brent & Kilburn Times storyMartin pictured in a previous Brent & Kilburn Times story (Image: Archant)

Sheila said: “A lot of people had a lot of respect for him. When it was first put up people would message me saying ‘oh Martin’s bench is there, how wonderful’.

“Martin’s bench was just in the most glorious location – it’s in the front of the rose garden.”

She added: “On the left you look downwards to the park, looking up you see the footprint of the Dollis Hill House, which he was involved with in campaigning to save the house. It was really kind of special.”

Cllr Krupa Sheth, cabinet member for environment, infrastructure, and climate action, said: “Our award winning parks really are the heart of the borough and memorial benches are a huge part of that for residents.

“So, we were really saddened and disappointed to learn that some residents memorial benches had been stolen recently.

“Bench thefts are very rare, we have alerted the police and will work with them where needed to catch the culprits.

“We will be in contact with the families affected to come up with a solution to this.”

Despite the council's pledge to work with police, a Met spokesperson said: "The investigation was closed as there was insufficient evidence."