Scrap metal thefts get heavy as value rises

POLICE Scotland are clamping down on scrap metal thefts after a spate of incidents.

In recent weeks, a trailer from Whitelee Windfarm, posts and gates from Neilston Windfarm, as well as gates and chains from Newton Mearns have all been stolen.

Elsewhere, in Pollokshields, several vacant properties which are currently being renovated have also been targeted.

Police Scotland have commenced Operation Caraway, a crackdown on thieves and dealers, as the value of scrap metal continues to rise.

Metal theft is prosecuted under the common law of theft, with which the prosecution approach includes prosecuting in the High Court.

There, offenders could be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment.

East Renfrewshire inspector Alan Dixon told The Extra: “We are trying to identify vulnerable locations and visit both these locations and scrap metal yards.

“However, once these items have been sold, they are very difficult to identify .

“Several days of action are being planned.”

Pollokshields and southside central Inspector Angela Carty added: “Following a number of break-ins to properties, additional officers — both uniformed and plain clothed — have been deployed to aid detection.”

This week, Solicitor General for Scotland, Lesley Thomson QC, sent out a strong warning about the tough prosecution action which will be taken to anyone reported to the prosecution service for metal theft.

She said:” Metal theft has a significant impact on our everyday lives.

“Prosecutors will take a robust approach to all metal thefts reported to them.

“If links are established to serious and organised crime we will prosecute at the highest level wherever appropriate.

“Following criminal conviction we will use the power of the Proceeds of Crime Act to strip you of illegal income.”