More than 400 police officers and colleagues from 17 partner agencies descended on ten scrap metal yards across South Yorkshire, suspected of buying and selling stolen metal.
Police teams across the county swooped in at 9am this morning to arrest numerous suspects following months of investigations. Following the arrests, specialist search officers and colleagues from agencies including HMRC, BT, Northern Power Grid, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water searched every site identifying and recovering stolen metal and assets gained through criminal activity.
Chief Supt Bill Hotchkiss, Regional Strategic Metal Theft Coordinator for Yorkshire and the Humber said: “Today’s operation is the culmination of months of painstaking investigation work not just by South Yorkshire Police but by everyone involved from our local authorities, other emergency services and service providers.
“The full extent of the amount of material and assets recovered from the sites searched today won’t be clear for some time. We have sent a strong message to rogue tradespeople and those suspected of creating a market for stolen metal.
“South Yorkshire Police is focused on disrupting criminal trade and removing the market for stolen metal - legitimate scrap metal dealers have nothing to fear.
“Metal theft is not a victimless crime, it causes interruption to the provision of utilities such as electricity, water, gas, telecommunications and rail transport and has a far-reaching impact on communities.
“Those who steal cable are putting themselves in real danger. Railway lines are operational 24 hours a day and trespassing can prove fatal. Strong currents also pass through many cables and can seriously injure anyone who touches them. Those who steal cable are not only risking a prison sentence, they are risking their lives.”