Scrap dealers warned over record keeping

COPPER cabling was seized by police during a crackdown on metal theft.

British Transport Police recovered one-tonne of cabling from a yard in south Essex as part of  Operation Ablett.

In total officers visited more than 40 scrap dealers including several from Grays where they issued warnings over inadequate record warning.

The officers were searching for cabling, wire and metal thought to have been stolen and also checking dealers’ records to make sure checks take place on metal they buy to ensure it is not stolen.

At a yard in south Essex, British Transport Police seized 25 bags of copper piping in addition to the one-tonne of copper cabling. Officers would not name the yard.

Supt Paul Brogden, who headed the operation, said: “Cable theft is one of the biggest issues facing the rail industry today.

“Each year the actions of cable thieves cost train operating companies, Network Rail, public utilities companies and local communities millions of pounds in repairs and lost business.”

“Thankfully the thieves are not putting rail passengers at risk when signal cable is damaged because any signals attached to a severed cable will automatically switch to red, halting any trains on the track.

“But the culprits are certainly putting themselves in harm’s way. The majority of cable thieves are opportunist and as such will have little or no understanding of the cable they attempt to steal.

“Some of this cable carries extremely high voltage and we have seen a number of cases in which thieves have been seriously injured, suffering extensive burns, after cutting through live cable.”

The operation formed part of continued efforts to drive down metal theft crime.

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