METAL thefts fell across Derbyshire during a three-month operation and more than 60 people were arrested, Derbyshire Police have said.
Operation Calanthia was set up to tackle the growing problem of theft of metal such as copper, lead, iron and steel.
It ran between September 1 and December 31, during which time incidents of metal thefts fell across the county. In September, there were 277 such crimes, 204 in October, 160 in November and 156 in December. So far in January, there have been 60 incidents of metal theft.
Police arrested 63 people on suspicion of stealing metal during the operation and scrap dealers throughout Derbyshire were visited to remind them of the legislation around the receiving and recording of metal. They were also encouraged to contact the police about suspicious people.
Superintendent Debbie Mathews, of the force’s Operational Support department, was in charge of the initiative. She said: “Theft of scrap metal has been an increasing issue for the force and Operation Calanthia was designed to bring the number of thefts down, increase awareness among scrap merchants and help to target-harden vulnerable buildings, such as churches and businesses.
“We wanted to make scrap harder to steal and make it difficult for thieves to sell metal on. Although the operation has now come to an end, we will continue to do everything we can to stamp out metal thefts in Derbyshire.
“Metal may well be in demand but stealing is a crime and in many cases, offenders cause extreme damage to buildings and put themselves and others in danger by taking metal from roofs, sub stations and railway lines.”
l Three men aged 62, 46 and 28 were arrested in December on suspicion of stealing metal fishing rods and a bicycle from outside a house in Goyt Road, Whaley Bridge. They were released on bail pending further inquiries.