Two men from Tring have been charged with a number of offences relating to acquing, hiding and using illegally obtained scrap metal.
Police have charged 20 people with 146 offences linked with illegal activity at scrap metal yards in Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire.
Over the past two weeks, a specialist team of detectives from Operation Symphony has interviewed and charged proprietors and staff at five yards.
Operation Symphony is an operation investigating the handling of stolen goods and money laundering at scrap metal dealers. It is part of a force-wide drive to reduce metal theft, which has already resulted in a 45% reduction this year.
In May, the operation executed search warrants at yards across Thames Valley and Hertfordshire.
The charges relate to the receipt of criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act and the possession of firearms.
Anthony Cartwright, 56, of Shugars Green, Tring, has been charged with four counts of attempting to acquire/use/possess criminal property and four counts of attempting to conceal/disguise/transfer/remove criminal property. He has been bailed to appear at St Albans Magistrates’ on 18 December.
Stephen Dell, 53, of Chesham Road, Tring, has been charged with four counts of attempting to acquire/use/possess criminal property and four counts of attempting to conceal/disguise/transfer/remove criminal property. He has also bailed to appear at St Albans Magistrates’ on the same day.
Two further men were arrested yesterday (Thurs 6th Dec) on suspicion of supplying cocaine, cultivating cannabis and handling large quantities of stolen cable. During the raids police located three hydroponic cannabis gardens.
A number of people remain on bail and the investigation is on-going.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Rodger Cartwright told Heart: "These charges are part of a complex investigation that my team has been conducting for many months. The theft of metal has an immense negative impact on communities and businesses and was a particular risk to the country during the Olympic Games. Thieves will target a range of metals including lead from roofs and utility power cables, causing damage to buildings and businesses and resulting in power cuts.
Be under no apprehension, to trade in stole metal is a very profitable business, netting substantial profits for thieves and handlers and causing other huge economic loss."