Copper Theft is a European Problem – 93 Tonnes Recovered
Police in Italy last month (May 18) led a major EU-wide crackdown on organised metal theft. 93 tonnes of copper was part of the recovered metal.
Supported by Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) and the informal Network Against Metal Theft, the operation targeted thieves in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Britain.
Across the 12 countries that participated in the one-day effort, law enforcement officials ran checks on nearly 54,900 individuals, more than 42,200 vehicles, almost 8,000 environmental companies and scrap dealers, 589 border areas and 2,572 other hotspots, including harbours and rail transport sites. The crackdown resulted in the arrest of 117 suspects alleged to have committed serious crimes, who were detained alongside more than 1,300 individuals who were convicted of minor offences and released.
Investigators identified a further 1,659 crimes, including 75 cases of theft, 60 of knowingly receiving stolen goods, 137 environmental crimes, 1,387 miscellaneous offences, and 2,763 administrative violations.
Officers seized nearly 358 tonnes of metal worth an estimated €890 000 ($1 million) during the operation, including almost 93 tonnes of copper worth around €540,000, and 983 solar panels and 140 vehicles. In a statement, Europol said: “This action sends a strong signal from law enforcement authorities to metal theft gangs operating all over Europe and to the many scrapyards that accept all kinds of metal with ‘no questions asked’.
“The phenomenon of copper theft has taken a European dimension and it often affects companies operating in the transport, energy, and telecommunications sectors, disrupting essential public services and leading to significant economic and social repercussions and possible implications for security.”
The operation, during which investigators carried out real-time cross-checks against Europol databases, was conducted within the framework of EMPACT, an ad hoc management environment to develop activities in order to achieve pre-set goals in Europol’s fight against serious international and organised crime.
In May 2016, Europol revealed that police in Romania and France had taken part in an operation that resulted in the disruption of a major Romanian metal theft gang operating in France. The effort involved 10 simultaneous raids across the country in the provinces of Ilfov, Teleorman and Galati. Three suspects were arrested and a large quantity of evidence was seized during the raids, including 300kgs of iron alloy, cash and documents.
Content by illicit-trade.com
Marl Business Park
Cumbria LA12 9BN
155 E Boardwalk Dr, Suite 422,
Fort Collins, CO 80525, USA
CRESATECH Inc. is a corporation registered in Delaware, USA
Registered in England
VAT Number: GB130795808