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Metal Theft Halved in North Yorkshire

News Article, Police, North Yorkshire

Article By: Dave Roberts

First Published: 16 October 2012

NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE in metal theft crime blitz are leaving no stone unturned in the fight to combat metal theft in the county.

Last week over 100 North Yorkshire Police officers joined forces with specialist staff from partner agencies to conduct one of the biggest metal theft operations ever undertaken in the county.

The operation, which ran for 24 hours from 7am on Thursday 11 October 2012, was part of a national day of action under Operation Tornado, a country-wide initiative aimed at disrupting metal theft across the UK.

Since April 2012, when Operation Tornado was introduced across North Yorkshire and the City of York, North Yorkshire Police has recorded a 53% reduction in metal theft compared to the same period last year.

The latest blitz drew on the expertise of various police units, the Environment Agency, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, the Benefits Agency and Hambleton and Richmondshire Rural Watch.

Officers targeted travelling criminals, scrap carriers, illegal fuel, vehicle safety and scrap metal dealers. Safer Neighbourhood Teams also carried out free catalytic converter marking and handed out crime prevention advice to members of the public. 

Road-side checks were carried out on vehicles travelling through North Yorkshire on the main arterial routes including the A1 from the Durham to the West Yorkshire border.

A multi-agency check point was set up at the junction of the A1 and A61 near Ripon which saw police officers stop all vehicles capable of carrying scrap metal. They were checked  for any suspected stolen goods, for roadworthiness and to ensure they had the correct licence and insurance.

The Environment Agency, the Department of Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs carried out checks to ensure the vehicles and drivers were properly licensed to carry scrap, were using the correct fuel and that no benefit offences were committed.

A similar vehicle check point was set up at Scotch Corner where police officers and specialist staff from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency stopped vehicles to check their roadworthiness and for suspected stolen goods.

The force's Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) team also took part in the operation with checks across the main routes through the county. ANPR works by reading a vehicle’s number plate and checking against a database of vehicles which are uninsured, untaxed or linked to criminality.

The ANPR van and intercept team were deployed on the A1 near Barton to capture any travelling criminals entering North Yorkshire from the north, while mobile ANPR cameras were used on other routes through the county.

Police carried out visits to scrap metal dealers to ensure compliance with the identification scheme launched under Operation Tornado and to check their record keeping.

It also gave officers a chance to build on the good relationships already established with the majority of the county’s scrap dealers.

George Sanderson from KPC Recycling, MOT Repairs and Services near Eggborough, signed up to Operation Tornado earlier this year and believes it has gone a long way to help reduce metal theft. He said: "The identification scheme is a very good idea to help cut down on metal theft. Which is good news for legitimate dealers."

Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the Safer York Partnership also carried out free catalytic converter marking for motorists at Halfords in York. Police officers and PCSOs also carried out visits to local scrap dealers.

Roads policing officers and Safer Neighbourhood Teams patrolled the county borders during the night with colleagues from neighbouring forces and local volunteers from Country Watch schemes.

Temporary Chief Inspector Sarah Jane Sanderson, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "The good news is we have a significant reduction in metal theft, the bad news for criminals is that we will not stop in our quest to disrupt their activity and keep them out of North Yorkshire and the City of York.

"The day of action highlights the work which is going on every day across the county to keep our communities as safe as possible."


The operation coincided with the news that legislative change is on the way.

Changes to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act will outlaw all cash transactions at metal recycling yards across England and Wales and there will be a significant increase in fines for those dealers who fail to abide by the rules.

Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on metal theft, Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther, said:
"For some time police forces and colleagues across several industries have called for tougher legislation in respect of metal theft.

"The revision of the LASPO Act will provide us with the first significant change in metal recycling legislation since 1964.

"The measures introduced will seriously curtail the market for stolen metal as there will now be a clear audit trail back to those bringing commodities into recycling yards and severe sanctions for those who step out of line."

DCC Crowther added: "Time is up for the thieves who continue to steal from our infrastructure and communities.

"The day of action, on 11 October, saw police and partners across the UK taking positive action against thieves: paying visits to scrap metal recyclers to remind them of their responsibilities and working together with communities to drive home the message that metal theft is socially unacceptable."


The theft of catalytic converters has increased recently, so consider marking yours with a marking kit - these are available for as little as £5. Vehicles with high ground clearance are most vulnerable to this type of theft. The most commonly targeted vehicles are Mercedes Sprinter vans.
Always ensure you park in well lit areas and restrict access to the underneath of your vehicle if possible. Garage your vehicle if you can and report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

Other metals targeted are copper, aluminium, brass, and bronze, with copper being a particular problem in rural areas of North Yorkshire.

Those most commonly targeted are trades people who use copper cables or piping during the course of their work. Thieves break into tubes on vehicle roof racks and remove the contents.
When vehicles are left unattended for any long period of time, the copper should be removed and stored safely. The tube on the roof rack should be left open to show it doesn't contain anything.

Metal-framed windows, roofs, copper rainwater pipes, iron gates, manhole covers and even church bells are all valuable items and can mean high rewards for thieves. Homes, churches, business premises and public buildings are all potential targets that could suffer from metal theft.


Link: http://www.securedbydesign.com/





Find related articles: Metal Theft | Police | Operation Tornado

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