Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crimewave UK: Organised gangs steal power lines, garden ornaments and memorial plaques (plus now they're even rustling the sheep) - 18th Sept 2011

Criminal gangs are stealing everything from power lines, metal railings and farm animals in highly organised hits.

Thieves regularly put their lives at risk by hacking away live copper cabling to try and cash in on increasing scrap metal prices.

British Transport Police has said the thefts cost a staggering £43m pounds in the past three years.

While some of the thieves are believed to know how to cut the 1,500 volt cable without being electrocuted, there are fears that teenagers are also being used to carry out some raids.

In July, a 16-year-old boy who broke into a disused power station in Leeds was killed after touching a high-voltage cable.

Commuters are suffering during rush-hour with more than 16,000 hours of delays in the past 12-months.

Travellers were also left stranded last week when overhead power cables were stolen and caused delays between London Liverpool Street and Stansed Airport.

Bermondsey in south London was also targeted when 65-metres of cable was ripped up. It led to 146 trains being cancelled with 840 being delayed.

Callous criminals are also targeting grave sites and and only last week more than 50 brass memorial plates were taken from a crematorium in Crawley, West Sussex.

Loved ones of the deceased were left devastated when boss Adrian Barbour contacted families to break the bad news.

Homes are also being stripped of highly-prized metal garden ornaments and telephone cables are also being hacked away.

BT has reported 900 cable thefts in just six months and has said 100,000 customers have been affected and left without vital communications. Read More