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Metal theft in Yorks

Two men were arrested after a cast iron spiral staircase was stolen from West Square in Scarborough. At around 3.40pm on Tuesday, April 10, North Yorkshire Police received a call form the owner of the staircase to report the theft. Just under two hours later, a police officer tracked the staircase down to a vehicle outside a scrap yard in Hunmanby where two local men aged 27 and 33 were arrested. They were released on police bail to allow further enquiries.


Police are appealing to anyone who was in the West Square area yesterday afternoon and saw anyone handling a spiral staircase, or saw a vehicle in the Scarborough area with the staircase in it.


Investigating officer PC David Anderson, said: “This was quite an audacious theft and the staircase would have been quite visible to passers-by. It is likely that members of the public weren’t aware that the staircase had been stolen if they did see it.” 


On Tuesday, April 17, over 400 South Yorkshire Police officers and colleagues from 17 partner agencies descended on ten scrap metal yards across south Yorkshire, suspected of buying and selling stolen metal.


Police across the county at 9am arrested numerous suspects following months of investigations. After the arrests, specialist search officers and colleagues from agencies including local authority, HMRC, BT, Northern Power Grid, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water searched every site identifying and recovering stolen metal and assets gained through criminal activity.


Chief Superintendent Bill Hotchkiss, Regional Strategic Metal Theft Coordinator for Yorkshire and the Humber said: “Today’s operation is the culmination of months of painstaking investigation work not just by South Yorkshire Police but by everyone involved from our local authorities, other emergency services and service providers.


“The full extent of the amount of material and assets recovered from the sites searched today won’t be clear for some time. We have sent a strong message to rogue tradespeople and those suspected of creating a market for stolen metal.


“South Yorkshire Police is focused on disrupting criminal trade and removing the market for stolen metal – legitimate scrap metal dealers have nothing to fear.


“Metal theft is not a victimless crime, it causes interruption to the provision of utilities such as electricity, water, gas, telecommunications and rail transport and has a far-reaching impact on communities. 


“Those who steal cable are putting themselves in real danger. Railway lines are operational 24 hours a day and trespassing can prove fatal. Strong currents also pass through many cables and can seriously injure anyone who touches them. Those who steal cable are not only risking a prison sentence, they are risking their lives.”


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