New actions to tackle metal theft

New measures to combat metal theft are being rolled out across the South of England today.

Spearheaded by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Operation Tornado is being launched across the South after being trialled successfully in the North East of the country.

With the aim of deterring would be thieves, Operation Tornado makes it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal through an identification scheme, constricting the market in which thieves can operate and making it more difficult to sell-on stolen goods.

In the South West, the operation will see cross-border collaboration with Avon and Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Constabularies working together to target metal thieves.

Scrap metal yards across the region have been asked to sign up to the scheme over the last six weeks. Anyone going to a yard to sell metal will be asked for evidence of identity in the form of a passport, national identity card or photo driving licence, supported by proof of address such as a recent utility bill.

Detective Superintendent Garrick Smith from Bournemouth CID said: “I am delighted that Operation Tornado is being introduced in Dorset and across the South West Region.

“The theft of lead and other metals from churches, schools, utility companies and local businesses directly impacts upon all communities.

“By working in partnership with scrap metal dealers to introduce Operation Tornado, we can ensure that metal thieves will no longer be able to anonymously dispose of metal for cash.

“The requirement to provide proof of identity and address details before any metals will be purchased will make the seller of stolen items more vulnerable to arrest and greatly assist police investigations.

“Operation Tornado is a national scheme and therefore offenders will find it ever more difficult to find a location at which they can dispose of their stolen goods.

“The scheme is supported by the British Metal Retailers Association and we are committed to tackling the scourge of metal theft together.” 

Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat MP for Mid Dorset & North Poole, said: I welcome the launch of Operation Tornado in Dorset and across the South West.

“I have experienced the disruption to public transport when important electricity cable is removed by thieves to sell for its scrap value.

“My constituency has also suffered at the hands of thieves stripping lead from its churches, causing massive amounts of damage to historic places of worship at the centre of our communities.

“Any steps like Operation Tornado intended to discourage criminals from making easy money from the sale of scrap metal has my wholehearted support.”

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