WIGAN scrap yards were being raided this morning as part of a fresh crackdown against the area’s metal theft plague.
The surprise police visits were also part of Operation Harvest that is geared to targeting thieves, thugs and fugitives across the county in the coming weeks.
Dozens of specialist and divisional police officers were primed to execute search warrants at nine scrap metal dealers across the county.
The high impact enforcement activity against metal theft continues the work of Operation Alloy that was set up in September last year to help stem the rise in metal thefts driven by increasing commodity prices for lead and copper. Officers are keen to continue the robust police activity of last year that has helped halve metal theft in the last 12 months.
The day of action sees officers supported by engineers from telecoms, electricity, water and tram and train networks searching the suspect scrap yards for metals that may have been stolen from their networks. Roadside checks on vehicles of people suspected to be transporting stolen metals will also take place in the vicinity of the targeted scrap metal yards.
Supt Craig Thompson who is leading the day of action said: “Operation Harvest targets 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.“