30+ arrests as police swoop on rogue metal traders
Metal theft, a rapidly growing crime which can have intolerable consequences, is only possible if someone is willing to buy the stolen metal.
Many metal dealers are honest, but some are not, or are not careful enough, and without the rogue metal traders the crime of metal theft would not continue to exist.
So I was delighted to see that the police have pounced on scrap dealers suspected of handling stolen metal items such as BT cables. More than 30 people have been arrested in simulaneous raids accross three counties.
More than 400 officers, including 45 specialist search officers and 50 detectives from three police force areas, carried out simultaneous raids on a series of premises.These included six scrap metal dealerships and eight home addresses of people associated with these businesses.
So far, a total of 33 people have been arrested, but police said the operation is on-going. The operation, one of the largest ever undertaken by Thames Valley Police, is the culmination of a seven-month investigation. The massive police operation also involved the Metropolitan and Hertfordshire forces.
Police unearthed silver from churches, large quantities of cash, stolen vehicles, a container full of catalytic converters and a number of firearms. Property stolen from BT was found at the majority of the sites raided.
Police are looking to seize other assets under the Proceeds of Crime act which were found at a number of the sites and at the homes of some of the owners and directors.
I hope that this action will have a substantial impact on the willingness of dealers to handle stolen goods.
Detective Chief Superintendent Brendan O’Dowda of Thames Valley Police
“We are totally committed to combating this, one of the fastest growing types of crime - a crime that threatens public and community safety and national infrastructure.
“The more unscrupulous dealers actively encourage the trade of stolen metal for cash without giving any thought and consideration to the impact the theft has on the very communities in which they live.
“We will make these people aware of the ramifications of their actions and relentlessly target them until they choose to operate more responsibly and within the law.”