THE Independence Day plaque in the country's first capital was targeted by scrap metal thieves.
But timely information from members of the public has resulted in the plaque now being kept at the Lomaiviti provincial administrator's office for safekeeping.
The Independence Day plaque was in the same place as the Deed of Cession plaque and a plaque to mark 100 years of Fiji's cession to Great Britain on October 10, 1874.
Levuka Town Council's chief executive officer Suliana Sandys confirmed to The Fiji Times yesterday some people had targeted to steal the Independence Day plaque.
"They were in the process of stealing it but they were not able to take it off as the provincial administrator sent someone down after being informed and the plaque is in his office now," she said.
"On one hand, people are trying to upgrade the look of Levuka Town and on the other, there are some people thinking otherwise. They are just thinking of making quick money because if they valued the history of Fiji, they wouldn't have tried to do such things.
"It's a national heritage site and something very important as far as the history of Fiji is concerned," she said.
Ms Sandys said scrap metal dealers had removed some items from the stones located at the site in Levuka. She said the Deed of Cession plaque and the plaque to mark 100 years of the cession were intact.
"We have been asking the scrap metal dealers for their licence as they drive around town at odd hours of the night until the wee hours of the morning," she said. "It's obvious to us living in town as we can always see them driving around at odd hours of the night.
"Some people have even lost their gas cylinders from outside their homes."
Ms Sandys said there were no scrap metal dealers in Levuka and those seen there at night on certain days of the week were from Suva.
Lomaiviti provincial administrator Kelepi Komaisavu could not be reached for comments yesterday on the safety of the Independence Day plaque and other historical plaques.
However, Ms Sandys said the council reported the scrap metal dealers issue to Levuka police.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said late yesterday afternoon that no such report had been lodged at the Levuka Police Station. Ms Naisoro however said scrap metal dealers were not supposed to operate outside the areas they were licensed for.