Metal thefts across the Thames Valley region have fallen by almost half in the last year – although figures in Milton Keynes have only dropped by 15 per cent.
The number of metal thefts in Thames Valley fell by 48 per cent, with figures for April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 showing a reduction from 3,924 to 2,052.
But in MK the fall was only 14.9 per cent; dwon from 322 to 274 such thefts.
The disposal of scrap metal was one of Thames Valley Police’s targets in its Force Delivery Plan.
Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “This time last year, our communities faced ever increasing metal theft, with both individual thieves and highly organised crime groups stealing many metal based products such as power cabling from our roads and railway networks; lead from the roofs of homes, churches and schools; catalytic convertors from vehicles; and even manhole covers from our roads. Thieves have consistently demonstrated total disregard for the safety of the public and themselves and this has been well evidenced by the theft of copper conductors from electricity sub-stations.
“The vast majority of scrap metal dealers work as responsible traders and within the framework of the law. However, some unscrupulous elements of the business take very few steps to check the origin and provenance of the metal that enters their yard.
“Theft of metal impacts on many levels; it isolates communities; disrupts vitals services; threatens critical infrastructure; and represents a significant cost to the public purse – estimated to be between £500 and £700 million pounds per year.
“I am very pleased we have nearly halved metal thefts in the Thames Valley with the work we have been carrying out, but metal theft still remains a key policing priority for the Force and the Police Crime Commissioner.
“Local teams, dedicated theft resources, and partner agencies will continue to work alongside responsible scrap metal dealers to stem and reduce the opportunities for stolen metal to enter their yards and businesses. Those dealers and organised crime groups that continue to commit metal theft will be targeted relentlessly.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld added: ““We have had in the past a major problem with metal theft and I am delighted that we have now nearly halved metal thefts in the Thames Valley. It is a major priority and we are making significant progress. The value of what is stolen is often small compared to the disruption and damage it causes. I would like to thank all officers, staff and volunteers for their hard work in this area. In the future we will continue to work together with partner agencies to ensure that the opportunities for stolen metal to be sold are reduced and that those who commit metal theft are targeted.”