Metal theft day of action

POLICE in Cambridgeshire carried out stop checks across the county today (October 11) as part of a national day of action against metal theft.

Officers and representatives from partner agencies stopped vehicles on the A1 at Sawtry, at Snailwell, and on Storey’s Bar Road, in Peterborough.

There were stop checks by officers throughout Huntingdonshire, in partnership with the district council, and two visits to scrap metal dealers. Scrap metal dealers in Fenland were also visited.

The activity was part of Operation Magnet, the force’s crackdown on metal theft, and also coincided with a national day of action by police forces and partner agencies.

Officers were joined by VOSA, the Environment Agency and were supported by HMRC during the stop checks, which were carried out in the area of scrap yards.

It is hoped new legislation, due to come into force soon, will also aid the fight against metal thieves.

Changes to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act will outlaw all cash transactions at metal recycling yards and there will be a significant increase in fines for dealers who flout the law.

Detective Inspector Sharon Dence said: “Today’s operation demonstrates our commitment to stopping this type of crime and catching those responsible.

“We hope the change in the law will also disrupt the stolen metal market by giving us a clear audit trail to those bringing commodities into recycling yards.”

DI Dence also urged members of the public to be vigilant.

“I would urge anyone who sees anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, particularly at night in isolated locations and around manhole covers or telegraph poles, to contact police.”

Anyone with information about metal theft should call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555111. If a crime is in progress, call 999.