POLICE have launched a crime-busting initiative to target scrap metal thefts across Derbyshire.
Operation Calanthia will tackle the growing problem of theft of metal including copper, lead, iron and steel.
There has been an increasing demand for metals, leading to a rise in prices and in turn more thefts.
As part of the operation – which will run until the end of the year – officers will visit scrap metal merchants and provide crime prevention advice to potentially vulnerable premises such as churches, schools and building sites.
In addition, there will be planned action at selected times and dates in a bid to target those involved in stealing and conveying metal in the first place.
Supt Debbie Mathews, of Derbyshire Police, is spearheading the initiative.
She said: “Some think these are victimless crimes and people are insured but far from it, these crimes have a major impact on churches, schools, hospitals, organisations, businesses and lead to an increase in fear in our neighbourhoods.
“One crime can have such a far reaching impact. We aim to make it as difficult as possible for metals to be stolen in the first place and also difficult for those who seek to trade in such stolen goods.”
So far there have been eight arrests in the operation. Four men were arrested on suspicion of theft of metal after they were seen acting suspiciously.
Police were alerted at about 1am on Friday, September 2, after a resident heard the sound of cutting gear coming from the direction of a disused railway line. The four men have been handed over to officers from British Transport Police which will investigate the offence.
Anyone with information about metal theft can contact police on 0345 123 33 33 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111