Crackdown on metal thieves

scrap merchants inthe High Peak were given a clean bill of health during an operation by Government agencies trying to crack down on thefts of metal.

Operation Calanthia was launched in September to tackle the growing problem of theft of metal such as copper, lead, iron and steel.

Uniformed and plain-clothed officers were joined by staff from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, licensing departments, Western Power, British Telecom and VOSA.

Other agencies checked cabling, carried out safety audits and vehicle inspections and made sure the merchants were adhering to their licenses.

Superintendent Debbie Mathews said: “Metal thefts is an increasing problem which can’t be tackled effectively unless we work closely with scrap merchants.

“Our checks revealed that many merchants are questioning people who bring metal in to scrap and they are keeping good customer records.

“However, we have recovered metal this week that has given us cause for concern and we have spoken to certain dealers to remind them of the need to carry out careful checks when items such as cabling or lead flashing is brought in.

“We have also gathered very useful intelligence this week around how scrap thieves operate, which will ultimately lead to further arrests and help us plan future operations.”

Nothing suspicious was discovered when teams visited yards in the Chesterfield, Buxton, Glossop and Derbyshire Dales areas, although thousands of pounds worth of metal was recovered from scrap merchants elsewhere.

In the High Peak, officers set up vehicle checks in conjunction with partner agencies to stop and search any vehicles transporting metal.

All churches in the Hope Valley were visited and given crime prevention advice following recent thefts. Police have continued to make arrests and are urging people to report suspicious activity.