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23 September 2011, 09:21
Hampshire police have arrested three people as part of an operation targeting scrap metal thieves.
They checked out scrap metal dealers in Southampton, the New Forest and Romsey, and also carried out stop checks on vehicles. As well as the arrests, they seized a truck carrying stolen metal.
On Tuesday, September 20, a total of 29 officers took part in the operation, which was carried out in two parts. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) check points were set up on the A36 at Ower and the A27 at Sherfield English, while other officers visited 12 scrap metal dealers across Southampton, the New Forest, and Romsey.
During the stop checks, three people were arrested for offences associated with metal theft, and seven road traffic offences were dealt with, including two which resulted in vehicles being immediately seized. One vehicle contained metal which is believed to have been stolen and has been seized by officers.
During the visits to scrap metal dealers, officers talked to owners about the issue of scrap metal thefts across the county, examined the business processes used by the dealers, and gave advice on how to avoid becoming an outlet for stolen metal.
Police are now trying to identify the metal they seized during the operation and find where it came from.
Inspector Jackie Willson, who led the operation, said, “This is the start of a long term focus on these incidents; we want to work with the scrap metal dealers in our local areas and develop better links and closer working relationships, so that together we can disrupt the criminal activity of those involved in scrap metal thefts.
“These offences are costly and very problematic for the victims, and we’d like to encourage people to report suspicious activity to us. If you recognise the pieces of metal we seized, or you think they may have been taken from somewhere near you, please contact the police.”
Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 or call the Crimestoppers, charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.