ID bid to root out scrap metal thieves

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SCRAP dealers in Suffolk are being asked to join an initiative to cut down on metal theft.

Suffolk Police launched its Operation Tornado on Monday whereby dealers will be invited to ask for ID before they buy scrap metal for cash.

In the past three years, metal theft has more than doubled in Suffolk with 213 offences in 2009/10, 389 in 2010/11 and 514 last year.

Due to high commodity prices metal has become much sought after and metal theft has ranged from lead taken from church roofs to underground cabling being ripped out for its copper content.

In March, cable theft in Thurston left homes without phone lines for three days, including residents at a sheltered housing scheme.

Thieves had stolen 450 metres of cabling valued at around £15,000.

Operation Tornado is a joint scheme between police, British Transport Police, HMRC and the Environment Agency.

Scrap dealers joining the scheme will ask for ID from people selling metal for cash. Police and partner agencies will visit scrap yards in the next few weeks with regular follow up visits to all yards.