23 arrests in Hertfordshire after scrap metal raids

MORE than 20 people have been arrested in Hertfordshire today (Wednesday) as part of a lockdown on metal theft.

Over �50,000 was seized under suspicion of being the proceeds of crime as part of the campaign which is hoped to put an end to disrupting communities and exposing residents to unsafe live wires.

The culmination of the eight week scheme today, also coincided with the national day of action against the theft of metal.

Forces including the British Transport Police, HM Revenue and Customs, the UK Border Agency, Trading Standards, British Telecom and Hertfordshire’s Operation Sentinel Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Intercept Team, were out in force targeting both metal thieves and unsafe drivers.

As well as arresting 23 people, on suspicion of offences including handling stolen goods, money laundering and illegal immigration, they also recovered seven unsafe or illegal vehicles.

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A large quantity of suspected stolen scrap metal was also seized including street signs and cabling.

Sites investigated today include WGC Metals in Tewin Road, where a 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, and Sovchem Ltd, in Welham Green.

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“Not only can this type of crime cause widespread disruption to our communities in Hertfordshire, but with the theft of cabling often leaving live wires exposed, it poses a very real risk to safety,” commented detective inspector David Wheatley.

“Under Operation Devon, we have previously targeted those carrying out the thefts; today’s aim was to crack down on those who buy the stolen goods.

“We have good working relationships with many legitimate scrap metal dealers across the county, who work closely with their local safer neighbourhood teams to ensure they operate within the law. However, as today’s activity shows, those that aren’t running legally will be found out and action will be taken against them - and we in Hertfordshire will continue to tackle this issue.”

The national day of action is co-ordinated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and features more than 20 police forces across the country.

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