Coast to Coast Tornado, strikes those involved in metal theft throughout Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West

Written by on December 12, 2012 in NPG News with 0 Comments

NPG Metal Theft

This ten-force operation has resulted in 57 significant arrests linked to approximately £115,000 of seized / suspected stolen goods. Two-hundred and fifteen scrap yards were visited and 3,546 vehicles stopped and searched and 76 vehicles were seized.

In the first ever operation of its kind, two regions joined forces to tackle metal theft across a slice of the country. Coast to Coast Tornado combined resources from the west to the east of the UK, across many force boundaries and with a number of statutory and industry partner agencies, producing a unique tactical capacity. Coast to Coast Tornado has disrupted the theft, disposal, transportation and exportation of stolen metal through systematically targeting the road network, ports and scrap yards, using all available powers.

Lead officer for the region, Superintendent Tim Innes said: “The scale and depth of this operation is unprecedented. Never before, have so many law enforcement agencies and industry organisations worked so closely together to tackle metal theft across the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

“This extensive operation covering Liverpool to Hull has taken a vast amount of planning and co-ordination and the results speak for themselves”

Across the two regions a minimum of £8,000 worth of fines were issued over the five days for vehicle related offences such using red diesel, breaching waste carrier licences, not holding insurance and not wearing a seatbelt.

In Yorkshire and the Humber, Regional Roads Crime Team officers attempted to stop a vehicle in Doncaster, South Yorkshire and the driver made off discarding two large packages from the vehicle, which were recovered by officers. A 38-year-old man was arrested and £40,000 worth of Class A drugs were recovered from his home in North Lincolnshire.

Patrolling officers arrested three males aged 16, 17 and 21 on suspicion of burglary in Dunscroft, Doncaster, South Yorkshire after a burglary the previous day when the car keys were stolen; it is suspected the three males were going back to the same address for the vehicle. A 33-year-old male from Rotherham, South Yorkshire was arrested in Thurcroft after trying to dispose of stolen metal via a scrap yard. The metal was later identified as being stolen from a burglary in Thurcroft.

The Commissioner for South Yorkshire, Shaun Wright said: “Metal theft is a big issue, which impacts on the lives of the general public. For example, the theft of cable can lead to a loss of electricity leaving businesses, hospitals, schools and entire communities without power. “I welcome force collaboration in tackling this matter and it sends a clear message from those commissioners and forces involved in this operation that we will not stand by and let communities be affected in this way.”

In North Yorkshire, Northallerton Safer Neighbourhood Team offered free catalytic converter security marking. Officers teamed up with Kwik Fit to provide the free marking on Saturday, 8 December. The marking kits use a solution to mark catalytic converters with a unique code, which is registered on a database, and a sticker is placed in the vehicle window to show it has been marked. This acts as a deterrent to thieves who know they will not be able to sell the metal on and makes it easier to reunite stolen items with their owners.

In the North West region, a 17-year-old male was arrested after being found in a substation in the Prescot area of Merseyside. He was disturbed by security and threatened the security officer with a sledgehammer. The male was arrested for further offences of abstracting electricity and a public order.

Police in Merseyside are continuing enquires into six Virgin and BT manhole covers found in a yard in Liverpool North. Twenty gas cylinders and fifteen beer kegs were also discovered at this site. In Lancashire, police seized of 351kg of confirmed stolen BT telecoms cable from a scrap yard in Preston. The value of the goods is around £450 scrap value, with an estimated cost of £10,000 to reinstate the cable, not withstanding the impact on the community from which it was stolen.

Also in Lancashire a 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, after a mid-terraced building in Blackburn was broken into and copper piping stolen. During scrap yard checks, the copper was found and through the paper work was traced to a shop where the cheque had been paid in by the man for the piping.

HM Revenue & Customs Jane Bews said: “We have worked with the Police and other agencies this week to ensure the scrap metal trade are paying the tax they owe. “We visited numerous people in the trade over the past few days, and will now be taking appropriate action against those who we suspect are not paying their fair share. “The net is closing in on those in those who chose not to pay the tax that they owe, and anyone wishing to get their tax affairs in order should visit”

Michael Griffith, senior environmental crime officer with the Environment Agency, said: “Over 50 Environment Agency officers have been working successfully with Police across the north of England, visiting scrap metal dealers and assisting with road checks. “Metal theft is a serious national issue, and offenders risk harming themselves or innocent members of the public when they target piping or copper wiring. “They will be caught and prosecuted, and scrap yards that carry out illegal activity, or receive obviously stolen goods, will find themselves targeted too.”

Simon Davies, general manager, Cable and Payphone Crime, said: “BT has a 40-strong cable theft task force which visits every incident, gathering intelligence and liaising with a variety of organisations including local police, Crimestoppers, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and scrap metal dealers. “Offenders cover the whole spectrum of criminality from opportunist thieves stealing small amounts through to organised criminal gangs with access to more resources and equipment causing major widespread disruption to our customers. This is a major issue for BT, but we are seeing increasing successes in tackling it, and we are determined to beat this menace.”

Nigel Walker, Northern Powergrid’s Vulnerable Assets Manager said: “A police operation of this scale shows the strong determination that exists to fight metal theft and we will continue to work closely with our region’s police forces and industry partners to try and rid our society of this crime. “We cannot over emphasise the social impact metal theft has on our communities, causing power cuts and putting innocent people’s lives at risk. Sometimes the metal they steal might only be worth a few pounds, but the damage they cause to our equipment can disrupt supplies to thousands of our customers until we are able to carry out repairs. “They can also leave our equipment in a dangerous state, accessible to passers-by until our engineers arrive to make the area safe. Metal theft is a socially unacceptable criminal activity that we are determined to stamp out.”


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