Eight tonnes of scrap metal seized from Pontypridd

Image caption Among the scrap seized was crushed beer kegs

Crushed beer kegs, electrical cable and drain covers were among a haul of eight tonnes of scrap metal seized by police in an operation to tackle metal thefts.

Other items such as a British Telecom lamppost and DVLA wheel clamps were recovered.

It was part of an operation with officers from South Wales Police and Rhondda Cynon Taf council staff in the south Wales valleys.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

Both are also being questioned on suspicion of not keeping proper records of who they bought metal from.

Police said the problem of metal theft in the area was growing.

Empty beer kegs are becoming a prime target for theives - with each aluminium beer keg valuing at around £75. Around £25m worth was stolen in the UK last year, said the police.

Operation Haribo targeted individuals and vehicles believed to be linked to theft of metals - including cars, lead from buildings and copper.

Visits were also made to scrap dealers across Rhondda Cynon Taf to ensure they complied with regulations

Sergeant Nick Jenkins, who is based in Pontypridd and led the operation, said: "Metal is being stolen in various forms from high voltage copper cables, lead from schools and churches to manhole covers and railway signalling cable.

"Metal thieves will literally steal anything in order to sell it on for cash."

He said, earlier this year aluminium liners were stolen from more than 40 gravestones at Ynsybwl Cemetery. Items such as radiators and washing lines have also been stolen.

Sgt Jenkins added: "Metal theft is not a victimless crime.

"Metal is often stolen from community buildings, which costs taxpayers money to replace, and those responsible are often involved in other forms of criminality."

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