Police crack down on metal thieves

Scrap metal thieves are being targeted in new police crackdown aimed at tackling the sharp rise in thefts across Norfolk. Operation Coppersafe has been launched after thefts shot up by almost half between January and May this year, from 41 to 81.

Scrap metal thieves are being targeted in new police crackdown aimed at tackling the sharp rise in thefts across Norfolk.

Operation Coppersafe has been launched after thefts shot up by almost half between January and May this year, from 41 to 81.

The increase correlates with an upsurge in metal prices and is being tackled jointly by the police, the Vehicle and Operator Standards Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, the Environment Agency, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Executive.

Det Insp Matt Dyson said: “This type of crime isn't just an issue for Norfolk - it is something that is affecting forces across East Anglia and beyond.

“We've seen cases of lead, copper and aluminium being stolen in recent months.

“It's a crime that won't be tolerated in Norfolk and is treated very seriously.

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“Our message to people involved in stealing these items or knowingly involved in disposal of such items is that you will be prosecuted when you're caught and that this problems is subject to an ongoing police focus.

“It's something that can cause financial misery to the victims concerned and can cost thousands of pounds to put right.

“They need to replace or repair the stolen items or machinery and, in some cases, can consequently affect their businesses and their income.

“We would urge members of the public to remain vigilant.

“Sites that are vulnerable include farms, churches and schools which are all in potentially isolated locations.

“They should mark their property for identification, and immediately report anything suspicious especially cold callers looking around for scrap metal, obtaining as much detail as possible including vehicle index numbers.

“The work carried out is part of on-going intelligence gathering regarding the issue and we will continue to work closely with our partners to tackle this crime proactively by establishing long term relationships and agreed best practice protocols.”

As a result of the initiative, three scrap metal sites were visited across the county.

Their records were checked and advice given to all three on appropriate record keeping. Additionally, some health and safety matters were identified which resulted in temporary closure of machinery at one site and health and safety training advice being given to all.

Further visits are planned for the future. Approximately 60 vehicles around the sites were also stopped and a number were found to have vehicle defects and prohibition offences.

Anyone who has knowledge of people involved in this type of theft or who witnesses suspicious activity should contact police on 0845 456 4567.

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