Monday, 26 July 2010

Police Target Metal Thieves

By Ben Aulakh

Police in Leicestershire have been cracking down on the illegal theft and sale of metal as part of a national operation.

Operation Consequence has seen officers from Leicestershire Police working to tackle the trade in illegally obtained metal, from lead flashing stolen from church roofs and local housing, to copper from electric base stations and railway lines.

The theft in such material has escalated in recent years due to the recession and high metal prices worldwide; the criminal trade is thought to cost businesses in the United Kingdom around £770 million each year.

Deputy Chief Constable Gordon Fraser said, “We’re pleased with the results of a successful day of action against those who flout the law.

“Arrests in connection with theft of metal send a message that we will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.”
Leicestershire Police were one of more than 20 police forces across the country involved in the country-wide operation on July 14.

Network Rail, the British Metal Recycling Association (BMRA), the Environment Agency and British Telecom were also involved in crackdown.

Officers recovered over a tonne of stolen BT metal cable from various scrap yards and scrap dealers across the city and county, with a market value of £3000.

In Hinckley, officers acting on community intelligence arrested six people who police had reason to believe were working together to steal metal.

Police raided a number of the suspect’s addresses recovering lead and copper metal, a quantity of drugs and stolen items, including a set of golf clubs.

The four men and two women were bailed until September 22 2010 pending further enquiries by the police. 

Paul Crowther, Deputy Chief Constable of British Transport Police said, “It is imperative that we continue to work with the BMRA to educate scrap yards and stop them from unwittingly taking in stolen metal, and in turn, reduce the opportunities for thieves to make money.”

Anyone with information about crime and anti-social behaviour in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland is urged to call Leicestershire Constabulary on 0116 222 2222, or Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111. 

Photograph from Robert Webb/

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