Copper thief charged with burglary

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A man has been charged with burglary as operations to beat metal theft across the city continue.

Damien Roberts, 36, of Darnel Close, Beanhill, has been charged with a burglary at a property in Lammas, Beanhill in which copper piping was stolen on April 20.

Roberts was arrested after a member of the public contacted police on the same day.

Throughout the city, neighbourhood officers have been carrying out targeted patrols in known hotspots for metal theft in a bid to catch those responsible.

Supported by partner agencies, officers have also been carrying out regular visits to scrap yards to ensure that all transactions are being carried out lawfully.

The operation is part of Operation Precious, a Force-wide initiative designed to target metal thieves and companies that buy metal from them.

In the past two weeks in Milton Keynes there have been metal thefts at 11 locations in the city, including lead stolen from; a charity shop in Queensway, Bletchley, the Youth Offending Team building in Fenny Stratford, and the Galley Hill Education Centre.

In addition, 31 transit vans from various locations in the city have also had their catalytic converters stolen by thieves who remove them and sell them for scrap.

Detective Inspector Mark Glover is leading the operation in Milton Keynes. He said: “Time and again, those who carry out these thefts demonstrate they are highly organised and completely indifferent to the level of inconvenience they cause and who they cause it to.

“Over the past two years, metal theft has risen in Thames Valley and nationally, in line with the rising price of scrap metal.

“The purpose of our action is twofold. Firstly, we visit the dealers to make sure they are complying with all the legislation and do not trade with criminals. I am please to say that so far there have been no problems in this area.

“The second part of the operation is about making sure we have officers in areas where we know metal thieves operate. We have stopped a number of vehicles and managed to gain intelligence and we will continue to ensure the scrap metal industry in Buckinghamshire does not operate illegally.

“However, it is vital that the public help us to combat this problem. If you see people removing car parts, metal or cable, particularly at an unusual time, do not assume they are doing so legitimately just because they are wearing a high-visibility jacket.

“We would rather receive a call asking us to check someone out and find they are legitimate than not get a call at all and we will act upon that information.”

Anyone with concerns should contact Thames Valley Police via the non-emergency 101 number, or via 999 if a crime is in progress.