metal theft operation Ripon
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Police Rural Task Force metal theft operation starts with day of action in Ripon

The North Yorkshire Police Rural Task Force is leading an operation this week to clamp down on metal theft.The week of action is part of a national operation aiming to prevent an increase in metal theft as lockdown restrictions ease.



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The North Yorkshire Police Rural Task Force is leading an operation this week to clamp down on metal theft.

The week of action is part of a national operation aiming to prevent an increase in metal theft as lockdown restrictions ease.

Operational activity includes high-visibility patrols around vulnerable locations such as churches, household waste and recycling centres and building sites; and proactive stop-checks of vehicles carrying metal.

On Friday, 23 April 2021, the Police Rural Task Force, Roads Policing Group and Environment Agency were in Ripon performing vehicle stops on the ring-road.

This allowed them to check vehicles in a number of ways:

  • Road Tax, insurance & MOT
  • Waste Carrier Licence checks
  • and for any stolen items

 

Sergeant Stuart Grainger, Rural Task Force, North Yorkshire Police
Sergeant Stuart Grainger, Rural Task Force, North Yorkshire Police

Sergeant Stuart Grainger, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said:

It is national metal theft week and there is a very key focus on catalytic converter thefts, nationally there is a steep increase as they contain metals like rhodium and other precious metals.

Places like the West Midlands and the North West are being hit the most with those thefts, but we expect it to spread.

We are working with a number of agencies, such as the Environment Agency, who are with us today,  to help build up that picture of where stolen metals go in, and who’s moving it around.

Right across the county we have been visiting scrap metal merchants with the Environment Agency. We are seeing catalytic converters simply being chopped out of 4×4 vehicles or out of hybrids, that have cleaner catalytic converters.

But people removing catalytic converters also put themselves at risk as they contain fibrous material similar to asbestos, so we have to be particularly careful if we recover any and how we size those safely.


  • Catalytic converters are made up of materials including palladium, rhodium and platinum. Palladium has a similar cost as gold.
  • Hybrid cars contain a higher concentration of precious metals and of better quality.

Catalytic converter thefts in London:

  • 2017/2018 – 154
  • 2018/2019 – 2,600
  • 2019/2020 – 12,483

Source: Compare the Market



Sergeant Stuart Grainger, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said:

Church lead theft is still a problem, but can tend to run in cycles. There was a spate of lead theft last year on the South Yorkshire and in the Dales some isolated thefts – often the removal is very crude and can damage the roof or headstones when it is dropped.

They can be difficult to identify as some turn up looking like legitimate roofing companies, wearing Hi-Viz, with a van with a made-up name on the side.

As the Rural Task Force we get a lot of complaints about fly-tipping on farmers land, that could be the remains of a cannabis farm dumped or a vehicle just dumped or waste that people believe they have paid for to be disposed of properly.

We are also aware of vehicles just driving around and speculatively taking any scrap metal that they can find.

I have my PCSO’s heading out to churches and talking to neighbours, asking them to be more aware.  To be aware of torchlights, strange wagons or noises it could be a church being targetted. We really want people to contact us if they are aware of anything suspicious.

 


 


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