United Kingdom – There has been a big drop in metal theft in the UK, according to the latest figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). A total of 16 155 metal theft crimes recorded by 42 police forces in the year ending March 2016, meaning that incidents are down by 38% compared to the previous year.
UK government officials have argued that legislation banning cash payments for scrap metal is ‘proving to be effective’. Extensive media coverage, combined with low scrap prices and a ban on cash payments are also hailed as important factors.
During the same period, infrastructure-related metal theft offences decreased by 36% while non-infrastructure-related metal theft – like abandoned cars – dipped 40%. The ONS report indicates that rates of metal theft offences have remained highest in the northern regions, though all regions have shown similar patterns of year-on-year decreases.
Notable metal theft cases this year:
In July 2016, two men who conspired to steal large quantities of railway cable were handed suspended prison sentences. The pair – a railway construction manager and the owner of a scrap metal dealership – stole almost 8.5 tonnes of cable in three months, which was sold for ‘thousands of pounds’.
In May 2016, a man who stole railway cabling, costing Network Rail more than £400 000 (US$ 504 000) was jailed for four months.
In April 2016, a gang was sentenced for stealing £23 000 (US$28 900) of cable.
To report any suspicious behaviour regarding metal theft, the police urges citizens to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or email them.
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