SCRAP metal thieves have been targeted in a police crackdown on metal thefts.
Police raided scrap yards and stopped vehicles as part of their week-long operation to clampdown on the thefts which have blighted the area.
The area has seen a 36 per cent increase in metal thefts over the last year with brazen thieves targeting properties, railway lines and churches.
The operation, codenamed Operation Cinderford, was hailed a success by officers who made arrests for burglary and theft.
During just one day of the operation there were 11 arrests made and various fines and infringements dealt with.
It coincided with new legislation being tabled in the House of Commons. The Metal Theft Prevention Bill asks for a cashless system, more police powers and better licensing to help trace where scrap metal has come from.
Acting Detective Sergeant Jamie Henderson, who was in charge of the operation, said they were targeting scrap metal yards and vehicles travelling with illegal scrap and cabling.
“Copper and lead are the two big metals being targeted and while ever there is a demand for it worldwide then they are going to keep targeting it,” he said.
At scrap yards, officers were checking documentation and the site itself, while any suspicious vehicles were being stopped and checked on the roadside.
During the operation officers were joined by partners including HM Revenue and Customs, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and British Transport Police.
Acting DS Henderson said that the force was developing an information sharing agreement between themselves and scrap yards.
This would enable information to be shared between them including sending photographs to scrap yards of anyone who has been committed a metal theft crime.
“The big message is that everybody should be more observant, share information and we will do all we can. If they have any information then they should share it, particularly people in rural areas. We are encouraging scrap yards to be very proactive and share information.”