A POLICE blitz on metal thefts has seen an 11 per cent fall over the last 12 months across the county.
The operation, which has also seen 68 cars seized, has been running in the county for the past year and has resulted in police receiving a total of 908 calls from members of the public.
Sergeant Mark McDonnell of the rural crime team said: “One of our tactics as part of the operation is to target the vehicles used by offenders.
“We have been engaging with individuals and groups in the rural and business communities to request that they immediately phone the police with details of any vehicles seen in suspicious circumstances.
“Examples might include vehicles driving around fields, people who appear to be tampering with electric or phone lines, hare coursing, people entering premises without authority, taking items from recycling skips, or touting for scrap.
“It is important that people call the police as quickly as possible so that we have the best possible chance of preventing and detecting these crimes. We check the details of every vehicle registration reported to us; no call is considered to be a waste of our time.
“As a result of the 908 calls received in the last year, 175 vehicles have been identified as suspected of being used in crimes involving rural incidents or metal theft.
“Consequently, the police have stopped 154 of these vehicles in the last year. 68 were immediately seized - mostly due to not having the relevant insurance cover to carry scrap metal. A number of these stops also resulted in the arrest of the driver.
“We work closely with Local Authority enforcement officers regarding the production of Waste Carrier certificates. A Northampton man recently received a fine of over £1,500 for failing to produce his certificate when stopped carrying scrap metal.”
Tougher legislation on metal theft has recently been announced outlawing all cash transactions at metal recycling yards across England and Wales and there will be a significant increase in fines for those dealers who fail to abide by the rules.