Stolen metal worth £700,000 has been recovered during a police raid on an unregistered scrap yard near Cheadle, in Staffordshire.
Officers from Operation Amalgam described the find at New Haden Metals on August 27 as, Britains biggest ever seizure of suspected stolen metal.
The joint operation, between the British Transport Police (BTP) and Staffordshire Police, discovered more than 350 tonnes of stolen rail track, other rail equipment, beer kegs, cabling and fencing.
Three people were arrested in connection with the raid and are on bail until December. One 43 year old man from the Tean area was arrested during the operation. Two further arrests were made last Monday (8 September). A 75-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman from Cheadle were arrested by the BTP on suspicion of handling stolen goods and money laundering, and have also been bailed until December.
BTP Organised Crime Unit detective sergeant Tony Nugent, who is leading the inquiry, said: We are still in the early stages of this investigation; however officers from two dedicated teams in Staffordshire Police and BTP are working round the clock to bring all those who share responsibility for this crime to justice.
Since the raid, scrap metal dealers have begun to work closely with the police in an effort to combat the problem. The help we are getting from legitimate scrap dealers is invaluable."
Staffordshire Police chief inspector Simon Tweats said: "Operation Amalgam uses information from communities to identify its next targets and we will continue to arrest metal thieves and others who are handling stolen goods."