Metal crimes leads to 60 arrests

Metal thefts fell across Derbyshire during a three-month operation and more than 60 people were arrested.

Operation Calanthia was set up to tackle the growing problem of theft of metal such as copper, lead, iron and steel.

It ran between September 1 and December 31, during which time incidents of metal thefts fell across the county. In September, there were 277 crimes, 204 in October, 160 in November and 156 in December. So far in January, there have been just 60 incidents of metal theft.

Police arrested 63 people on suspicion of stealing metal during the operation and scrap dealers throughout Derbyshire were visited to remind them of the legislation around the receiving and recording of metal and they were encouraged to contact the police about suspicious people.

Superintendent Debbie Mathews, of the force’s Operational Support department, was in charge of the initiative. She said: “Theft of scrap metal has been an increasing issue for the force and Operation Calanthia was designed to bring the number of thefts down, increase awareness among scrap merchants and help to target harden vulnerable buildings, such as churches and businesses.

“We wanted to make scrap harder to steal and make it difficult for thieves to sell metal on. Although the operation has now come to an end, we will continue to do everything we can to stamp out metal thefts in Derbyshire.

“Metal may well be in demand but stealing is a crime and in many cases, offenders cause extreme damage to buildings and put themselves and others in danger by taking metal from roofs, sub stations and railway lines.”

Two 32-year-old Derby men were charged with stealing metal from St Joseph’s Social Centre, in Mill Hill Lane in September.

In December, two men from Bolton aged 28 and 62 were arrested on suspicion of taking metal from a skip at the Airfield Industrial Estate, Ashbourne. They are currently on bail pending further inquiries.

Three men aged 62, 46 and 28 were arrested in December on suspicion of stealing metal fishing rods and a bicycle from outside a house in Goyt Road, Whaley Bridge. They were released on bail pending further inquiries.

A 32-year-old local man was arrested in December on suspicion of stealing lead flashing from the roof of a house in Highfield Lane, Chesterfield. He remains on bail while officers carry out further inquiries.

The origin of metal street signs recovered from a dealer in Derby in September is still under investigation.