10 arrests as police net closes on metal thieves

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TEN people were arrested on suspicion of theft and vehicle offences as police carried out a day of action to crack down on metal theft.

In Pennine Division, the number of metal thefts reported rose to 743 between January 1st this year to September 30th – up from 531 over the same period the previous year.

It is the second highest figure for Lancashire behind only Eastern Division which covers the area in and around Blackburn.

Officers searched 23 scrapmetal yards and stopped 293 vehicles, while 33 suspected offenders were hand-delivered a warning letter and 397 vulnerable premises were visited and given crime prevention advice.

Four vehicles were seized and 1,500 leaflets were handed out to businesses and residents, giving tips on how to keep their property safe.

Supt Steve Pemberton said: “We are actively working to address the problem of metal theft and we will continue to run such operations to pursue those who we believe to be involved in the crime.

“The theft of metal costs individuals and businesses thousands of pounds each year – it is not a victimless crime. Not only that but stealing metal can be dangerous with thieves risking life and limb to steal pipes and cables.

“Residents have a key role to play to keep their property safe from lead and metal theft and I urge people to take additional precautions such as storing wheelbarrows, bins and ladders securely; considering the use of anti-vandal paint; regularly checking their roofs and installing security lighting. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police.”

The operation was supported by agencies including Trading Standards, Environmental Health, The Department for Work and Pensions, The Environment Agency, VOSA, British Transport Police, HM Revenue and Customs and local councils.

Anyone with information about the theft of metal can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.