A TEENAGER has been detained on suspicion of scavenging lead from the roof of a Wigan home.
Police today said that the arrest in Pemberton, another in Bolton and the seizure of suspected stolen metal shows how seriously they are taking the on-going problems with the scrap black market.
The Force launched Operation Alloy to combat the growing problem of metal thefts and stop thieves from lining their pockets by selling on such materials, and officers said todday that the latest arrests show the operation is paying dividends.
The first arrest happened at about 9.45pm on Tuesday when the occupant of a flat on Brindley Street, Pemberton, heard banging from his roof. When he looked through the fire exit glass door, he saw a stranger drop down from the roof and run down the outside stairs.
Police were called and arrested a 17-year-old boy. Stolen lead was also recovered. The teenager has been bailed until January 5 pending further inquries.
The next day officers arrested a man in Little Lever, Bolton on suspicion of stealing lead from a shed roof.
These latest arrests follow several raids on local scrap dealerships, particularly in the Pemberton and Atherton areas, which have yielded stolen metals.
Sgt Graeme Murrie, from the Operation Alloy team, said: “With Christmas coming up, and the nights drawing in much earlier, unfortunately there are thieves about who have no qualms about ripping the lead of roofs or raiding sheds just to get their hands on a bit of metal they can cash in.
“Anyone who has been a victim of this sort of crime will understand just how frustrating it is. Stealing the lead from a roof leaves the home vulnerable to the weather, insecure and the homeowners are left with a feeling their home and their privacy has been invaded.
“What these two arrests show is just how much of a priority Greater Manchester Police takes metal theft and the quick response of the divisions meant not only were we able to catch these thieves red-handed, but we also stopped them from making off with the metal and profiting from their cowardly and opportunistic actions.
“If you are a victim of this sort of crime, then please call us immediately.
“Thanks to Operation Alloy, we are continuing to make arrests across Greater Manchester, reducing the amount of metal stolen and bringing offenders to justice. Gradually the message needs to sink in to these criminals: if you want to steal metal, be prepared for the metal of police handcuffs.” Operation Alloy involves specialist operations and neighbourhood policing officers being supported by engineers from telecoms, electricity, water and transport networks to recover stolen metals and arrest suspects.
Anyone targeted by metal thieves should call 101 or 999 in an emergency, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.