Cambridgeshire's metal theft crime 'significantly' down

A campaign to target metal thefts has "significantly reduced" the number of offences, according to Cambridgeshire police.

The force said there were 810 crimes in the year ending March 2013 compared to 2,311 in the previous year.

The almost 65% reduction was "excellent" said Det Insp Sharon Dence but added "we will not be complacent".

Officers worked with councils, the British Transport Police, BT and regularly visited scrap metal yards.

Yards targeted

"The drop in metal theft is excellent news but we will not be complacent [because] metal theft is not a victimless crime," Det Insp Dence added.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary set up Operation Magnet in April 2012 to target metal thefts.

Officers made regular visits to scrap metal dealers to make sure they were implementing new legislation under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, which outlaws cash transactions.

Det Insp Dence said: "We also started routinely taking information on people selling catalytic converters.

"This resulted in thefts being significantly reduced and they have stayed low, despite some spikes nationally, with lots of our yards deciding to stop taking catalytic converters as it was not worth their while."

The force also holds regular days of action during which they stop vehicles carrying scrap metal and check if drivers have the necessary licences as well as ascertain the origin of their cargos.

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