The four forces of Yorkshire and the Humber last week took part in a ten-force operation which swept across the region and forces in the North West.
The operation resulted in 57 significant arrests linked to approximately £115,000 of seized/ suspects stolen goods.
215 scrap yards were visited and 3,546 vehicles were stopped and searched, 76 of which were seized. £8,000 worth of fines were issued over the five days for vehicle related offences such as using red diesel, breaching waste carrier licences, not holding insurance and not wearing a seatbelt.
In the first ever operation of its kind, Yorkshire and the Humber forces joined the five forces from the North West and British Transport Police in tackling metal theft across the north of the country. By combining resources from the west to the east of the UK, across many force boundaries, the police worked with a number of statutory and industry partner agencies to produce a unique capability.
Lead Officer for the Yorkshire and Humber region, Superintendent Tim Innes, said:
The scale and depth of this operation is unprecedented. Never before, have so many law enforcement agencies and industry organisations worked so closely together to tackle metal theft.
This extensive operation covering Liverpool to Hull has taken a vast amount of planning and coordination and the results speak for themselves.
North Yorkshire Police took part in the operation with a day of action on 4 December 2012, as well as offering free catalytic converter marking to motorists.
105 vehicles were stopped at multi-agency checks which were set up on the A1 at Scotch Corner, the A61 junction and on the A645 near Eggborough to target waste carriers and vehicles capable of carrying scrap.
Police officers also visited 10 scrap metal recycling yards to ensure they were compliant with the new, cashless trading legislation and to build on the already positive relationships built up during the course of Operation Tornado which was introduced across North Yorkshire in April.
The Automatic Number Plate Recognition Team (ANPR) were deployed to the A1 to intercept vehicles linked to criminality.
Officers were joined across the force by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the Department of Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs Fuel Testing Unit and the Environment Agency. These partner agencies were looking for dangerous vehicles, benefit offences, illegal use of fuel and waste carrier licence offences.
Temporary Chief Inspector Sarah Jane Sanderson of North Yorkshire Police, said:
This huge show of strength sends a clear message to the criminal fraternity that all forces and partner agencies are working together to disrupt their activity and bring them to justice.
While metal theft across North Yorkshire has dropped considerably over the past few months following the introduction of Operation Tornado, we are not complacent and will carry on targeting metal thieves until they no longer pose a threat to our communities and infrastructure.
We are now one week into the new legislation which prevents the trading of scrap metal for cash. This will help to further reduce the flow of cash to metal thieves, taking the profit out of their crime and hopefully make them wake up to the fact that their time is up.
If scrap metal dealers are operating in cash, they are now breaking the law, report them or any suspicious activity to the police by calling 101. You can also pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.