Police target metal thieves

SCARBOROUOGH Police have put the wind up metal thieves with Operation Tornado this week – a European crackdown which targeted the crime.

More than 50 police officers in North Yorkshire took part in the 38-hour operation which ran from 9am on Monday until 11pm on Tuesday and a total of eight people were arrested with numerous vehicles checked for stolen metal.

Scarborough Police carried out their checks on the main routes in and out of the town during which 15 vehicles capable of carrying scrap metal were stopped and checked.

Sgt Trish Hope, of Scarborough Police, said: “We have seen some very positive outcomes as a result of our focused work to combat and disrupt criminal activities around metal thefts. This is an excellent example of North Yorkshire Police’s commitment to our priorities of safer roads, targeting cross border criminals and building safer communities and strong partnerships .

“A significant amount of intelligence has also been gathered and is being fed into ongoing investigations. Our fight against metal theft will continue unabated.”

She added that two local people had been investigated for illegal scrap metal activities on non registered sites, with one suspect still on police bail, and another investigation was focusing on illegal vehicle dismantling activities.

Also, during the stop checks, an offence was identified relating to the transport of waste with all others stopped able to produce the correct documentation. Sgt Hope said: “This is seen as a positive outcome by officers in view of compliance with legislation due to increased patrols and prosecutions and the media releases to educate the public.

As part of the operation officers visited scrap metal dealers to reinforce an identification scheme which was launched in April and was designed to restrict the sale and movement of scrap metal.

They checked for any suspected stolen metal and any irregularities in the dealers’ record keeping – as part of the scheme dealers agree to only buy metal from sellers who can produce two forms of identity.

Inspector Rob Thorpe, who led the North Yorkshire operation, said: “The national days of action have given us a chance to highlight the relentless work going on to tackle metal theft.

“However, I want to send a clear message to the criminal fraternity that it doesn’t stop here, metal theft is a major priority for the force and we will continue to pursue criminals from all angles 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

He added there had been a great response to the identification scheme since it was launched in April with the majority of scrap metal dealers in the county signing up.

During the operation a number of vehicles were seized for no insurance and vehicles were also tested by HM Revenue and Customs for the use of illegal fuel.

The operation supported the European Network of Railway Police Force’s (RAILPOL) national days of action.

Traffic officers and the Automatic Number Plate Recognition Team patrolled the major routes throughout the county – including the A169 between Scarborough and Pickering.