Dozens stopped and arrested as part of force wide metal theft operation
16 March 2012
POLICE across the West Midlands have stopped dozens of scrap wagons and made several arrests during a crackdown on metal theft this week.
West Midlands Police joined forces with partner agencies to conduct a series of operations across the Black Country, Birmingham and Coventry to mark the national metal theft day of action.
Officers visited scrap yards and conducted roadside checks alongside colleagues from the Environment Agency, BT, Western Power, Trading Standards, VOSA, and local authorities for the operation.
In Wolverhampton, 50 vehicles were stopped and checked by officers. One vehicle was seized for having no insurance, two drivers were fined for having illegal tyre treads and three men were arrested from a vehicle for suspicion of possession of drugs and were later cautioned. A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft from shops and stores.
Scrap merchants were visited across Wolverhampton and officers recovered seven Virgin Media Hawker energy batteries and £700 worth of BT cable. Other items recovered included shopping trolleys and gas bottles.
In Birmingham their day of action included a traffic ANPR operation which was conducted along Rookery Road. Scrap merchants were visited and their books checked for any irregularities and anti-theft vehicle number plate screws were distributed to deter thieves who steal number plates.
In Sandwell, scrap merchants were visited and one merchant has been reported for working outside their licence agreements. A vehicle was also seized for having no insurance on Charles Street, Smethwick.
Meanwhile, officers in Coventry, operating around the city centre, targeted vans and other vehicles being used to carry metals.
The Central Motorway Police Group and Force Traffic Unit assisted the policing operations across the West Midlands and checked over 14,000 vehicles using automatic number plate recognition technology. This resulted in 40 vehicles being stopped and 23 drivers receiving fixed penalty tickets for various offences.
Officers from Walsall visited nine scrap merchant dealers across the area and nine vehicles were served with prohibition notices.
Detective Chief Inspector Angie Whitaker, West Midlands Police force lead for Operation Steel, said: "Partnership work and proactive policing is the key to tackling the issue of metal thefts and we have seen a reduction in the number of victims of metal related criminality.
"This day of action builds on the success of previous operations and we will use intelligence gathered throughout the year to target offenders.
"All affected industries are now working together to deal with the associated problems and nationally the debate is ongoing as to how we can strengthen legislation to help deal with rogue scrap metal recyclers."
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- police.uk (external site)