Greater Manchester Police raided 49 scrap metal dealers and recovered stolen metals at five of them yesterday (Monday 10 September) in their latest clampdown on metal thieves.
More than a hundred specialist and divisional officers as well as 21 Special Constables were involved in the day of action that was one of many planned under the Force’s Operation Harvest that aims to bring a wide range of thieves, thugs and fugitives to justice in the coming months.
Recovered items included gas cylinders, beer kegs and metal cages. Officers were supported in identifying stolen metals by engineers from the telecoms, transport and utility companies.
Roads policing officers supported the raids by conducting roadside checks on 580 vehicles suspected to be transporting metal illegally. They seized 54 vehicles for insurance and road tax related offences, served 284 Fixed Penalty Notices and gave roadside advice to almost 300 drivers for a range of road traffic offences.
Officers from GMP’s Operation Alloy team that was set up last year to tackle an increase in metal thefts say hard hitting actions such as these aimed at metal theft and associated crimes have helped to reduce metal thefts by 56 per cent in the last year.
Superintendent Craig Thompson who lead the day of action said: “Through Operation Harvest we are targeting the criminals that are hurting the people of our county the most.
“More than half of metal thefts in Greater Manchester are from the homes of ordinary, often vulnerable people causing them physical and financial hardship that is particularly painful in the current financial climate.
“We have worked hard in the last year to substantially reduce metal thefts by targeting metal thieves in the scrap metal yards where they off load their ill-gotten gains, on the roads when they are transporting stolen metals and in the communities where they spread misery by stealing metals from people’s homes and community buildings.
“We will be maintaining this level of pressure and continuing to put these criminals behind bars.
“People can help by making their homes, businesses and community buildings less vulnerable to thieves by using security lights, fencing, alarms and good locks to keep thieves at bay.
“They can also help us by providing information about suspicious activity either directly to us on 101, the new single non-emergency number or anonymously through the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
People can follow what is happening through Operation Harvest to put law-breakers behind bars on www.gmp.police.uk and on other social media networks that include Facebook and Flickr. Twitter users can follow #harvest at gmpolice for the latest information.
They can also use these networks to find out what officers are doing to fight crime in their neighbourhood, comment on police activity and get advice on how they can keep themselves and their property safe from criminals.