Twenty people from across the East Midlands were arrested last week following a regional crackdown on metal theft.
Police, government organisations and industry representatives from across the East Midlands worked out of the Metal Theft Reduction Control Room, based at Newark Police Station.
To illustrate the type of work being processed by the control room staff, Nottinghamshire Police ‘tweeted’ activity as it happened each day under the hashtag #metaltheft. Updates were also posted on Facebook.
Chief Inspector Anderson said: “Tackling metal crime from a single force perspective is not sufficient, as perpetrators use county borders to their advantage.
“The control room has allowed for a consolidated East Midlands approach and enabled us to pool resources and intelligence to disrupt and narrow the opportunity for offenders to move and sell this stolen material across the county boundaries.
“While it may not be sustainable to permanently have regional staff in the control room, we do hope to reassemble it at appropriate times throughout the year.
“What’s important is we have now created a dynamic network in the form of a virtual control room by which we can effectively communicate across the East Midlands to affect the swift processing of crimes and their offenders.
“We have never been in such a strong position in the fight against metal theft.”
Of the 52 scrap metal yards in Nottinghamshire, 42 were visited and their records and stock checked.
Officers stopped 80 vehicles, seizing cars from seven motorists without insurance or valid insurance to carry scrap.
Three motorists without waste carrier licences were reported for summons to court, 10 were issued with fines and points for offences such as speeding, and one was ordered to make their vehicle road safe.
Two hundred pots of SmartWater were distributed across Nottinghamshire to enable officers to protect people’s homes from metal thieves.
The forensic liquid, which is invisible to the naked eye but detectible under ultraviolet light and includes a unique code registered to the owner of the property it is protecting, was used to protect the lead flashing around windows and copper pipes affixed to houses.
Once marked with SmartWater, stolen metal can be identified by scrap metal dealers and the police.
Across the region, officers stopped 136 vehicles in total. Of those, 13 were seized from drivers.
Nine motorists were found to be without waste carrier licences.
Anyone with any information about the perpetrators of metal crime is asked to contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously to ‘Help Scrap the Metal Thieves’ on 0800 555 111.