Cheeky thefts in homes for scrap metal

Police investigating metal thefts at a metals trader
Police investigating metal thefts at a metals trader

Cheeky thieves have been stealing full boilers from houses under construction in Leyland, police have warned.

Thugs wanting to sell scrap metal for ‘quick cash’ have been breaking into homes when work is being done on them in recent months.

Copper pipes from within walls have also been stolen, as well as bicycles and garden equipment from sheds and garages, such as hedge trimmers.

Insp Steve Evans, of Leyland Police, said: “It’s been a problem for a while now, and it’s mainly an issue of people taking metal from electricity substations, but now homes are being targeted too.

“It’s a quick sell and quick cash for the culprits, but we need to stop them getting away with it.”

A new operation called Tornado has now been launched in South Ribble, in a bid to put an end to the problems.

It will start very soon, and is set to take place mainly in Leyland, Bamber Bridge and Walton-le-Dale, which are the worst-hit areas.

Insp Evans explained: “We’ve got £5,000 to fund this month-long operation, which will mainly be used to pay police officers overtime, because we need more people out at night, when the crimes tend to occur.

“We’re going to speak to scrap metal dealers in the area to find out what type of things are coming in, and who they’re coming from, to see if we can identify anything there.

“We’re also going to increase visibility around substation areas, and just generally keep a look-out for people at night time.”

More than £12,000 worth of metal was stolen from dangerous substations in South Ribble between June and August this year.

Metal thefts can also cause power cuts, and electricity North West says it’s having a big impact on residents.

Jane Fleetwood, Lancashire area response manager for the company, said: “Not only is this an incredibly dangerous crime, but it causes thousands of pounds worth of damage and affects livelihoods and vulnerable people, including the elderly, who may live on their own.”