Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's a Steal; Criminals Swipe Cables to Cash in on Soaring Value of Scrap Metal; THIEVES Cashing in on the Soaring Value of Scrap Metal Caused Chaos on the Metro in Newcastle When Hundreds of Metres of Copper Cabling Were Stolen from the Line. Metal Theft Is an Increasing Problem in the North East. KATY SIMPSON Investigates

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's a Steal; Criminals Swipe Cables to Cash in on Soaring Value of Scrap Metal; THIEVES Cashing in on the Soaring Value of Scrap Metal Caused Chaos on the Metro in Newcastle When Hundreds of Metres of Copper Cabling Were Stolen from the Line. Metal Theft Is an Increasing Problem in the North East. KATY SIMPSON Investigates

Article excerpt

Byline: KATY SIMPSON

HOMES, railways and even churches are under attack by metal thieves.

Almost 500 metres of copper cabling was stolen from the Metro line in the Percy Main area yesterday, causing huge rushhour delays and closure of the line between North Shields and Chillingham Road. The service was back to normal by 6.20pm.

A 52-year-old from Wallsend and a 28-year-old from Newcastle have been arrested.

Exposed metal around our towns and cities is under constant threat from criminals looking to make a quick buck. The value of scrap metal has risen sharply due to a global increase in demand, believed to be fuelled by India and China's drive to modernise.

At its peak, lead was valued at about pounds 1,150 a tonne, and copper has reached about pounds 3,000 a tonne.

Steel, which is rising in value, is priced at about pounds 150 a tonne. Yesterday's Metro chaos caused by the theft of copper cabling worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, shows criminals are keeping a beady eye on global markets.

Residents in Walker know too well the cost of metal crime, as lead roofing was pinched from houses in the area last weekend. Two youths were arrested.

Last month pounds 10,000 worth of equipment was stolen from a wind farm on Wagtail Lane, Craghead.

And gas cylinders worth pounds 11,000 were stolen from Weldmore Ltd, Grove Industrial Estate, Consett.

Transport operator Nexus says yesterday's theft is not the first time the Metro has been targeted this year. Huw Lewis, of Nexus said: "We suffer from it maybe a few times a year. Although yesterday's theft was pretty severe, it wasn't the worst we've seen."

He warned people who trespass on the line to steal are risking their lives. "We have engineering trains or trains being tested all through the night. There's also 15,000 volts running through some of the cables which would probably kill you. …

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