On 22nd April, two men were arrested on suspicion of theft of lead from St Peter's Church in Saltfleetby. A member of the public reported the incident and officers detained two men aged 22yrs and recovered the stolen lead. Both men have been bailed pending further enquiries. The church has had the lead returned.
Also on 22nd April, two men aged 31yrs and 35yrs were arrested on suspicion of burglary on Foss Bank Lincoln. Again officers were alerted by members of the public to a suspicious vehicle at an unoccupied building where copper piping was stolen. This vehicle was located and the piping recovered. The two men were later arrested and have been bailed pending further enquiries.
On Friday 20th April, 27-year-old Leon Hutchinson from Grimsby was sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court to 9 months imprisonment for a series of metal thefts within the county and in north east Lincolnshire. He was caught attempting to steal lead from the industrial heritage Bass Maltings buildings in Sleaford in December 2011 following a report to the police by a member of the public. In interview he admitted a further six metal theft offences and police went on to recover a large quantity of stolen lead and scrap metal from his home address.
These arrests and convictions are part of the excellent results we are seeing in Lincolnshire in connection with Operation Brompton which is the specific police operation in place to tackle metal theft. So far this year we have seen in excess of 60 arrests for metal theft offences and a reduction in the number of crimes. This is as a result of the combination of co-operation from members of the public who report suspicious incidents, the good relationship with the scrap metal dealers that has now been developed in the county, and the quick response from the officers on the front line dealing with these offences.
Lincolnshire Police has now signed agreements with twelve Scrap Metal Dealers in the county to standardise the identification procedures that dealers use when purchasing scrap metal. Through Operation Tornado, a British Transport Police led initiative, anyone wanting to sell metal to a dealer will need photo identification and proof of address which will be recorded before any sale can take place. This will assist in the detection and reduction of offences and also help to deter offenders who think it is easy to sell on stolen metal. The police have a good relationship with all the dealers in Lincolnshire and this has already led to offenders being prosecuted.
Lincolnshire Police would like to thank the members of the public for their help and vigilance in reporting metal theft and encourage the continued reporting of suspicious vehicles and activities. This is particularly near locations that are being targeted by metal thieves such as churches, schools, building sites, unoccupied houses and 4x4 vehicles. Any incident can be reported through the 101 telephone number if non urgent or 999 if urgent. You can also contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Sergeant Marc Gee will be available for comment / interview this week. Please contact the HQ Press Office with requests on 01522 558026.