A NEW operation has been launched by police to crackdown on the trade of stolen lead and copper in the Daventry area.
Northamptonshire Police last week began Operation Silver Fox to make the county “as hostile as possible” to scrap metal thieves and the people who buy their ill-gotten gains.
Detectives revealed that metal thefts have risen by 13 per cent this year, with more than 100 extra incidents recorded across Northamptonshire.
The Daventry district has seen a spike in thefts, and in September £15,000 worth of lead was taken from church roofs.
The new operation will see Northamptonshire Police working with neighbouring forces to track down metal thieves.
Assistant chief constable Martin Jelley said officers will also be targeting scrap metal dealers who buy the stolen metal.
He said: “Metal thefts account for 1.7 per cent of all recorded crime and clearly there has been a problem over the past two or three years, particularly with the price of metal going up.”
Temporary inspector for the Daventry area Paul Valentine said: “We have had a lot of phone calls from people in the rural areas who let us know about cars that have been selling scrap metal or acting suspiciously.
“Those phone calls really do help especially when we get told car registration plates.
“We put the information into a database which we can then use. We are sending warning letters as well asking them to explain their actions.
“I would also hope this acts as a reassurance to the community that we are taking this issue seriously and doing everything we can to tackle it into the new year.”