Police warning as metal thieves target homes and businesses

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POLICE are warning people to guard against metal thieves targeting homes and businesses across the borough.

Soaring scrap metal values have seen cases double in the past three years and police are looking to crack down on the crime.

Officers are investigating the theft of a £60,000 metal air conditioning unit which was reportedly stolen from an industrial unit in Hapton last week.

CCTV footage at the Network 65 Business Park off Accrington Road are being scoured for clues but police are yet to make an arrest.

However, detectives caught up with a 38-year-old man who stole £3,000 worth of metal cable from Burnley Football Club on July 4th.

Mark Entwistle, of Hambledon Street, Padiham, admitted wrenching 130ft of cooper wire from an electricity box on the Clarets’ Gawthorpe training ground at Burnley Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard the theft of the inch thick cable caused floodlights to fail at the football club site and wreaked several thousand pounds worth of damage.

Entwistle, who was tracked down by fingerprints, had weighed the metal in for scrap but only made £100 from the deal.

He was given a 12-month suspended sentence by the court.

PC Graeme Lund, of Padiham Police, who is leading the crusade against metal theft, said the problem is on the rise. “It is a massive business at the moment. Criminals are constantly on the look out for metal objects to steal. They will steal anything and everything.”

PC Lund said washing machines, garden furniture and manhole covers had been targeted and the latest theft was the air conditioning system from the Hapton business park.

“It is not just Hapton it is everywhere. We are targeting the Hapton and Park ward as there are a lot of outlying farm areas that are often soft targets for thieves. We want to get the message out to people that leaving things lying around can attract thieves. People must be a bit more savvy about it.”

Anyone with information about the theft of metal can call the police on 0845 1 25 35 45, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.