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Police launch crackdown on city’s scrap metal thieves

Posted on - 15th March, 2012 - 8:40am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Preston News
Railway lines are common hot spots for copper theft, causing disruption to West Coast Main Line services

Railway lines are common hot spots for copper theft, causing disruption to West Coast Main Line services

Lancashire Police have launched a blitz against scrap metal theft in Preston and beyond this week.

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Codenamed Operation Starling, officers from the force have been visiting scrap yards and metal dealers to clamp down on a crime which has been rising fast not just in the county but in the UK.

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Police say 15 vehicles were stopped with 5 immediately removed from the roads for being un-roadworthy. Four people were reported for having no tax, five people were fined for various offences and 20 letters were hand delivered to known offenders.

Cables from train lines, copper boilers and lead flashing from Church and school roofs are just some of the most common types of theft.

Lancashire Police say there was a 48.3% increase in the number of metal theft crimes in Lancashire between April 2010 and March 2011, with 3,041 incidents in total.

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Chief Inspector Jon Bullas, who has been overseeing the operation, said: “We are committed to tackling the problem of metal theft which costs victims in Lancashire thousands of pounds each year.

“Thieves have targeted homes and businesses as well as buildings like churches, causing significant damage and distress.

“It is our firm intention to reduce this type of crime by working with local communities on crime prevention projects and by disrupting criminal activity and putting suspected offenders before the courts.”

The crackdown included stopping and searching vehicles in the city for the past week and making inspections to vulnerable buildings such as churches and libraries.

Anyone with information about the theft of metal can call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Image credit to Tony Worrall.

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