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  1. Published on: 06/06/2018 07:41 AMReported by: roving-eye
    Last week, officers throughout England, Wales and Scotland took part in a day of action in the continued fight against metal theft.

    In the UK, the day of action on Wednesday 30 May centred on a number of visits by police officers to scrap metal dealers as well as road side checks.

    During these visits and checks, officers checked for stolen metal, and examined trader’s financial records to ensure they were complying with the Scrap Metal Dealers Act.

    Since 2013, it has been illegal for scrap metal dealers to pay for metal using cash, which restricts cash transactions that are linked to crime.

    Legislation such as this has contributed to a significant reduction nationally relating to metal theft. However, in the last year, BTP has seen a marginal increase in metal theft offending. Wednesday’s day of action is designed to detect and disrupt this type of criminality.

    Det Insp Darren Gough from British Transport Police, said: “Frustratingly in recent years we have seen a slight increase in the number of incidents relating to metal theft on the railway. There are a number of reasons that may have contributed to this rise, but we remain fully determined to prevent further offending.

    “Metal theft can have a huge effect for all communities, not least for the rail network. When vital signalling cable is taken it can take hours and thousands of pounds to make repairs. This is an unnecessary cost to the rail industry and can ultimately result in an increase in ticket prices for passengers.

    “Wednesday’s unannounced visits by officers from BTP, other police forces and industry partners should be a warning to those dealers who are intent on breaking the law. We are using intelligence to disrupt this type of crime and prevent metal from being stolen.”

    Forces involved in this national day of action include the Metropolitan Police Service, Gwent Police, Leicestershire Police and Hertfordshire Police. The day of action was coordinated by Europol and is designed to disrupt and prevent metal theft throughout Europe. A total of 12 countries were involved, each targeting metal theft, with BTP leading the efforts in England, Wales and Scotland.

    So far, more than 50 scrap metal dealers were visited where checks were made. At one site in the East Midlands, officers found stolen metal and found evidence suggesting non-compliance with the Scrap Metal Dealers Act. An investigation is now underway.

    Furthermore, dealers who had poor record keeping were issued warnings to make improvements.

    DI Gough added: “By working closely with other our industry partners and forces throughout England, Wales and Scotland we can help to maximise our visibility as well as share intelligence. Undoubtedly, this is our strongest weapon in the fight against organised crime such as this.

    “Of course the public can help us in the fight against metal theft. If you ever witness someone acting in a suspicious way near the railway, please contact us on 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40. Alternatively ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
     

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