336 scrap metal thefts – 17 ‘cleared up’ by PSNI
THIEVES in Limavady and Londonderry have struck over three hundred times in the past few years, pilfering hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of materials, while the PSNI have managed to resolve 17 of those crimes.
The Sentinel obtained the figures from the PSNI under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. There were a total of 336 offences recorded by police in Limavady and Londonderry from August 2009 – August 2012, and a total of 364 ‘properties’ were stolen.
Of all the properties stolen, 173 had no monetary value recorded by the police, but of those that did the total value amounts to more than £200,000.
Police resolved or ‘cleared up’ 17 of the 336 theft offences from 2009 to 2012. For a crime to be considered ‘cleared’ by police, this means in broad terms that it will have been cleared up in some way – such as an offender being charged with the crime or a caution being issued.
A police spokesperson, commenting on the PSNI’s clearance rate in the wider North West policing area, referred to as ‘G District’, pointed to the improved clearance rate for overall thefts.
The spokesperson said: “In the current financial year, the detection rate for overall thefts in G District is 23.5 per cent, which is a 3.2 per cent increase on the same period last year. This is above the PSNI service average of 19.3 per cent. There has also been a 16.3 per cent reduction in the number of thefts reported.”
A list of the stolen properties was also provided as a part of the FoI request. Some of the most common items reported included copper wiring, pipes, hot water tanks, as well as lead roofing and other properties potentially valuable as scrap metal.
Thieves were even moved to pilfer manhole coverings, metal gates, railings, feeding troughs and a host of other metallic objects.
A spokesperson from the PSNI’s Freedom of Information team said: “There were 336 burglary, robbery and theft offences in the Limavady and Foyle policing areas where the property stolen was metal.
“The data is based on recorded burglary, robbery and theft offences where the property was classified as stolen and where there was information on the property record identifying it as containing metal. While it may be likely that the metal was stolen because of its scrap metal value this cannot be guaranteed to be the case.
“Of the 364 property descriptions recorded 173 have no value recorded. Where the information has
been recorded this amounts to £204,271.”
The spokesperson added: “Of the 336 offences recorded 17 have since been detected. Due to evidence of the offence of metal theft being linked to serious organised crime across the UK, the Police Service of Northern Ireland can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to your request.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
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