Copper thieves risking their lives

A SECOND gang of copper thieves have risked life and limb in their bid to steal the valuable metal, it emerged today.As reported in yesterday's Evening Star , crooks mounted a Hollywood-style escape when stealing copper wiring from a BT workshop in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich last Friday by ramming at speed through the gates that staff had closed to catch them.

A SECOND gang of copper thieves have risked life and limb in their bid to steal the valuable metal, it emerged today.

As reported in yesterday's Evening Star , crooks mounted a Hollywood-style escape when stealing copper wiring from a BT workshop in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich last Friday by ramming at speed through the gates that staff had closed to catch them.

Now it has emerged that other thieves have risked electrocution in their efforts to steal the metal.

Between 9am on January 25 and 9am on February 12, copper was taken from an electricity substation compound in The Drift, Ipswich.

Louise Rosher, spokeswoman for Ipswich police, said: “It appears they were chucking metal items in to short the system and then going in to cut the copper earthing strap.”

The thieves escaped with 20 metres of two-inch thick flat copper earthing strap.

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A spokeswoman for EDF Energy Networks, who own the substation, said engineers were alerted to the incident on February 12.

Their records show that someone had climbed the perimeter fence and caused structural damage as well as stealing vital equipment.

She said: “Safety is of paramount importance to EDF Energy Networks and we would warn anyone entering a substation, other than our own trained engineers, that they are risking their lives and the lives of others who may gain access through broken fences or gates.”

Miss Rosher said such thefts had been on the increase over the past year due to the rise in value of copper and other scrap metals.

She said police are keen to know where the copper is being disposed of and that businesses with copper on the premises should step up security.

Anyone with information about the thefts should call Ipswich police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

A SUFFOLK scrap metal merchant said those stealing copper in the county were likely to take it to scrap yards in Norfolk or elsewhere to sell it on.

The trader, who did not wish to be named, said the price of copper had actually reduced this year and high quality copper, such as that stolen at the Ipswich substation, would fetch about £2,200 a tonne.

He said it was the most valuable scrap metal but its value was nowhere near as high as precious metals such as gold and silver.

The trader said his company always took the name and address of anyone selling scrap metal but said most of their metal came from traders such as plumbers.

He said any regular member of the public who came in with a large amount of metal would arouse suspicion.

Did you witness either of the incidents? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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