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Police urge north Kent residents to help catch metal thieves

PUBLISHED: 09:39 08 August 2011

Armand Meguer fell from the Sun Alliance building in London Road, Bromley

Armand Meguer fell from the Sun Alliance building in London Road, Bromley

Archant

Police are urging residents to report suspicious activity following a rise in metal thefts.

The appeal comes following a recent day of action between Kent Police and British Transport Police in which almost 50 breakers’ yards and scrap metal dealers across the county were targeted and checks carried out at the Dartford River Crossing.

Last month homes in Riverview Park, Gravesend, were left without internet or phone connections for up to six days after thieves ripped up and stole 160m of underground cabling, resulting in 220 faults being reported to BT.

Chief Superintendent Steve Corbishley, Head of Partnership and Communities said: “Metal theft is a national problem and one of the UK’s fastest growing crimes, and it’s having an impact on communities in Kent.

“We’ve had church roofs and school buildings targeted, telephone cable and manhole covers stolen and even a handrail from the promenade at Cliftonville taken by thieves recently.

“Around 15 million tonnes of metal is recovered nationally each year, with a sale value of £13 billion which gives an illustration into the significant scale of this criminality, due to the rising value of commodities like copper.”

He added: “We would urge the public to report any suspicious sightings such as people working late at night on roofs or activity around manhole covers. This is also important during the summer holidays when schools are typically empty.”

The day of action on Friday July 29 saw a number of vehicles seized including a forklift truck and a tractor, one man was arrested for disqualified driving and officers dealt with more than 30 offences of illegally carrying waste bu issuing fixed penalty tickets and one caution.

To report suspicious activity call Kent Police on 01622 690690.

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