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19/03/13: Power operator winning fight against metal thieves

Rochdale has witnessed the biggest reductions in metal theft on its electricity network in Greater Manchester, as crimes have more than halved in the past year. Mark Williamson, area manager for Electricity North West

New figures released today show there were 15 metal thefts reported to Electricity North West in the area last year compared to 40 in the previous year.

Electricity North West, the company that owns and operates the regional power network, has promised to continue its fight to reduce metal theft further.

The company welcomed the final passing of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill last month, which it says will help tackle the crime by introducing cashless payments at scrap yards.

Mark Williamson, area manager for Electricity North West, said: “This reduction in metal theft in Rochdale marks a significant step in the right direction in our crackdown on the crime.

“We are delighted by this decline as metal theft is incredibly dangerous and it can also have a great impact on the power supplies to homes and businesses and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“We are committed to putting a stop to this crime and we will continue to use all our resources to tackle the problem and these recent positive results show we are making a real difference.”

Measures introduced by Electricity North West has include improving security, targeting scrap yards and by working closely with Greater Manchester Police on raising awareness and increasing patrols in areas of high crime through Operation Alloy.

Superintendent Craig Thompson who leads Operation Alloy, GMP's forcewide fight against metal theft, said: “Criminals that target the electricity network put their own and the lives of ordinary people at risk. They cause disruption to a vital service affecting people at work, the transport system, schools, hospitals and the emergency services as well as vulnerable older, sick and disabled people in their homes.

“We have been working hard with partners in the utility and transport networks to target metal thieves leading to these levels of reductions and the courts have also taken a tough stance in sentencing these criminals.”

Anyone with information regarding metal theft should call Electricity North West’s free emergency 24-hour number on 0800 195 4141, the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.

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