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Metal theft falls after police operation

A crackdown on metal theft in Wiltshire has seen a dramatic fall in the number of incidents in the county.

Last month, 29 metal thefts were reported compared to 131 in January 2012. There were 77 reported metal thefts in Wiltshire in September last year, down 60% from 204 in September the previous year, according to Wiltshire Police.

The fall in theft comes after the police launched Operation Tornado last year, a collaboration with other agencies including the Environment Agency, to target some local scrap metal dealers who were trading stolen material.

Acting Detective Sergeant James Neighbour, who led the police in Operation Tornado, said that the operation was also about educating scrap metal dealers in the dangers posed by buying metal which could be stolen

“Scrap metal dealers no longer trade in cash which has had a massive impact on the number of opportunist metal thieves trying their luck to sell stolen metal on,” he said.

“Metal theft causes misery for thousands of people across the country and evidence in 2011 highlighted the fact that criminals were diversifying and targeting metal from other areas including power cables, utilities pipe work and telecommunications cabling.”

Wiltshire Police worked with organisations including BT, the Environment Agency, Western Power, the Lead Sheet Association and local government departments in both Wiltshire and Swindon during this operation.

The police said that it would continue to target criminals dealing in stolen scrap metal.

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