Crackdown results in metal thefts decrease

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A CRIME team put together to clamp down on metal thieves has seen a 150 per cent drop in offences over four months.

The Safer Doncaster Partnership has been targeting thieves and rogue merchants who buy stolen scrap across Doncaster.

Despite the huge decrease, the Doncaster Metal Theft Theme Group has warned that numbers are still high with 236 incidents occurring in April of this year.

The group’s battle plan was announced as engineers continue with £200,000 worth of repairs to replace three miles of overhead power lines between Rossington and Tickhill after thieves cut through some of the steel support masts.

A number of roads were closed by officers because of the danger from the loose 66,000 volt cables.

Acting Superintendent Andy Kent, chairman of the metal theft theme group, said: “High demand for metal globally, driven by emerging economies, has led to rocketing prices in recent years.

“The rise in scrap metal thefts is an international problem but here in Doncaster we are taking a very pro-active approach.

“I am delighted with the recent success we have achieved in reducing the problem but this is just the beginning.”

Coun Cynthia Ransome, cabinet member for communities, said: “Scrap metal thieves put lives at risk and cause huge problems for our communities.”

The Doncaster metal theft theme group includes key members of staff from the council, police, NHS, probation service and St Leger Homes.

It is a monthly forum where information is shared in its bid to combat metal theft.

The launch has coincided with Operation Tornado – a high profile multi-agency initiative tackling scrap metal thefts across South Yorkshire.

Doncaster has been one of the worst-hit areas of Yorkshire for metal theft lately with criminals cutting internet and phone cable leaving villages such as Hatfield and Lindholme isolated.

Churches have also had lead stripped from roofs costing tens of thousands of pounds to repair and road users have been put at risk by drain cover thieves.

Train passengers have suffered long delays because of signalling problems caused by cable theft.

Motorists have been left reeling too with expensive catalytic converters stolen from their car exhaust systems.