Police target metal thieves

AN operation targeting the theft of scrap metal in Derbyshire launched last week.

Operation Calanthia has been set up to tackle the growing problem of theft of metal such as copper, lead, iron and steel.

The operation will run until the end of the year and include enforcement action against those involved in the crime as well as raising awareness with local businesses and groups about the issue.

Officers will be identifying potentially vulnerable premises across the county, such as churches, schools and building sites, and offering them crime prevention advice and property marking. They will also be paying regular visits to scrap metal merchants to remind them of the legislation around the receiving and recording of metal and encouraging them to contact the police about suspicious people.

There will also be planned enforcement action at selected times and dates to target those involved in stealing and conveying metal.

Superintendent Debbie Mathews, of the force’s Operational Support department, who is leading the initiative said: “What people do not always appreciate is the impact the thefts have on the local community but also the danger such thefts pose.

“Churches are often targeted for lead but the price someone will received for the lead taken will bear no comparison to the repair costs the church will face.

“Electrical substations, railway lines and building sites are also regularly targeted for copper cabling, steel and central heating pipes and boilers and this carries it own inherent dangers.”

Popular metals that are being stolen in Derbyshire include copper, lead, iron, steel, aluminium and precious metals, including those from catalytic converters.

Anyone with information about metal theft can contact Derbyshire police on 0345 123 33 33 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.