CALLS have been made for tougher action after stolen scrap metal worth thousands of pounds was recovered in Wrexham and Flintshire.
The raids were carried out under Operation Pallid, which involved 36 officers from North Wales Police and other agencies.
All vans and trucks travelling near three scrapyards were stopped and checked for possible stolen metal.
At the Entrec yard on Wrexham Industrial Estate, stolen wire valued at about £2,000 was recovered along with a large quantity of Scottish Power cable. Stolen Scottish Power cable was also recovered at Deeside Metals and Dobbins in Saltney Ferry along with components valued at several thousand pounds and extensive documentation.
Now North Wales AM Mark Isherwood has questioned first minister Carwyn Jones over Welsh Government support to combat scrap metal thefts.
He asked Mr Jones to respond to the call by officers involved in the raid for Welsh Government support for a new scheme to tackle metal theft.
Speaking in the Senedd, Mr Isherwood said: “In August, North Wales Police led a successful raid on three scrap metal dealers in Wrexham and Flintshire.
“The officer responsible told me that he wants to target not just the thief but also the dealers.
“He said it is absolutely essential the police and other enforcement agencies target not just the thief but the outlets.”
Mr Jones described the officer’s call as “an interesting suggestion “ but said it would need UK Government backing to work effectively.
Outside the chamber Mr Isherwood added: “The officer is already working with the Home Office lead officer on metal theft and the Association of Chief Police Officers’ National Metal Theft Working Group.
“He is also already attending the Regional Metal Theft Forum in Wales. It is simply therefore not good enough for the first minister to try to evade giving Welsh Government support by putting the onus on the UK Government.”
After the raids Sgt Chris Griffiths, of North Wales Police, said the yards and local business premises were helping police with their inquiries.
The cost of metal thefts nationally last year was estimated to be £770 million and increasing.
Officers said the crime is spreading because of demand for scrap metal from China and a reduction in production by copper mines throughout the world.
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