Skip loads of stolen metal recovered in day of action
4 December 2012
VANS have been seized and tons of stolen TV and power cables seized during an ‘all out’ day to tackle metal theft across the West Midlands.
Officers working as part of the national fight against metal thieves, Operation Tornado, visited over 40 scrap yards throughout the region today to hammer home the message that metal theft won’t be tolerated.
This week saw a change in the laws governing the trade in scrap metal, which includes yards being banned from paying cash for scrap, as well as sellers having to provide ID when offering up their wares to recyclers.
To mark the change in legislation a national day of action has today been held up and down the country to ensure both buyers and sellers are adhering to the new rules.
Detective Inspector Gordon Roberts, the lead for the Midlands Regional Metal Theft Taskforce, said: “Dozens of officers have been working as part of Operation Tornado today to visit yards right across the region to make sure they’re operating legally.
“Most were complying with the rules, however a small minority were found to have stolen goods in their premises and further enquiries are now underway.
“Four vans and cars were seized for either a failure to have legal documents, or they were being used to carry waste illegally.
“We also recovered BT, Virgin Media and Western Power cables from a handful of yards, which should not be sold on the open market.”
In addition to the stolen cables, officers discovered two skips worth of Calor Gas bottles, which should also only be recycled through approved yards.
DI Roberts added: “We are determined to make it as difficult as possible for rogue traders or thieves to get rid of stolen metals in the Midlands region and we will prosecute anyone found to be committing offences.
“The new laws mean that thieves can no longer make a quick quid by cashing in their scrap. For too long thieves have been able to steal what they like and sell it on for, sometimes, large amounts of cash.
“We will be regularly monitoring yards across the West Midlands and making sure that anyone trying to sell or accept stolen goods will be subject to our investigations.
“We have seen great reductions this year in metal theft and we are determined to see that continue.”
The Association of Chief Police Officers has estimated that metal theft costs the UK economy approximately £770 million per year, however the West Midlands region has seen massive reductions in the number of crimes being committed this year – with offences having halved.
Since last year the force has seen a reduction of over 60 per cent for crimes involving metal theft, which means that there are almost 2,500 fewer victims of this type of offence.
Image: (left to right) Joe Smith of J Smith Metals in Wolverhampton, DI Gordon Roberts and Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones, photographed to mark the change in the law governing the trade of scrap metal on 3 December.