Roadside tests target the scrap metal thieves

MORE than 1,200 vehicles have been stopped and checked in the last three months as police target scrap metal thieves.

Operation Coin is an ongoing initiative in Northumberland.

Officers from Bedlington to Berwick have been carrying out a range of actions from visiting scrap dealers to carrying out high visibility patrols on main routes throughout the county.

Officers have been stopping drivers and checking loads and the paperwork of those picking up and carrying scrap to make sure they are legitimate.

Since the operation was launched on November 10, 2010, police action has seen more than 1,200 vehicles stopped and looked over by officers.

There have been around 20 arrests as a result of the roadside checks.

These have been for offences such as theft, going equipped and burglary.

Police have seized property such as drain covers, scaffolding, large amounts of scrap metal and counterfeit DVDs.

Officers have also been working with partners at Northumberland County Council and Customs and Excise.

They have carried out four joint operations within south east Northumberland, checking for illegal fuel, non roadworthy vehicles and other road traffic offences.

DCI Peter Reeve said: “We’ve had an excellent response from the majority of the road users in Northumberland who are happy to support the police in tackling crime in the county.

“My message to metal thieves and the communities in Northumberland is to expect more action.

“I make no apologies for the work we are doing – we’re not just going to let criminals come into Northumberland, take what they want, and leave.

“At the heart of this operation is the public.

“We need their help as our eyes and ears in the more rural areas of Northumberland.”

If anyone sees anything suspicious then they are asked to contact police on 03456 043043 or 999 if it is an emergency.

They should take down registration numbers, vehicle details and as much information as they can.