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28 arrested in Bradford district in scrap metal probe
A police crackdown on scrap metal theft has led to 28 arrests, including a 74-year-old man, and the seizure of £115,000.
The massive operation across West Yorkshire started on Monday and three arrests were made at a scrap metal dealers in Keighley yesterday as ten metal dealers, including one in Bradford and one in Keighley, were raided, with more searches to follow.
Three men, aged 44, 28 and 37, from Keighley, are in custody being questioned on suspicion of handling stolen property.
The raids were a culmination of a covert police operation lasting months.
Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd, in charge of local policing, said he was delighted with how the operation had gone.
“Nationally metal theft has become a big issue with thieves going after large scale targets such as the transport infrastructure and small scale items such as plaques marking the passing away of a loved one,” he said.
“But the human impact on victims remains the same and our action over the last three days sends out a loud and clear message that West Yorkshire Police will not tolerate metal theft. The majority of scrap metal dealers work with us to help stop the movement of stolen metal.
“The answer lies within the communities which we serve and we need people to work with us – whether that’s legitimate scrap metal dealers passing on information about people within their trade acting illegally or members of the public spotting something that doesn’t look right and letting us know about it.
“It could be something as simple as seeing people acting suspiciously around a vehicle and then making a note of the registration plate.”
Other agencies, including BT, helped with the raid. Simon Davies, BT Security’s general manager responsible for dealing with cable theft, said: “We welcome initiatives such as this, which are an important part of the campaign to beat cable thieves.”
Nigel Walker, Vulnerable Assets Manager for Northern Powergrid, said that metal theft put lives at risk.
Anyone spotting people acting suspiciously should contact West Yorkshire Police on 101 or call Northern Powergrid on 0800 375 675.
Of the 28 arrested, two are women and 26 are men aged between 19 and 74. Of these eight have been released on police bail and eight have been charged with handling stolen metal and the rest remain in police custody.