A PICK-UP said to be dangerously carrying a suspected stolen pipe was among the seizures made during a police crackdown.
A 10ft piece of metal was strapped to the battered vehicle by just a few pieces of string when it was pulled over in Burn Road, Hartlepool.
Its seizure was part of a Hartlepool Police operation to target metal thieves that saw various agencies, including Hartlepool Borough Council and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), stop-check suspicious looking vehicles and those carrying waste.
Two men in the pick-up were arrested on suspicion of theft and taken in for questioning. It is thought the pipe may have been taken from a beach.
Fixed penalty notices, police producers and prohibition notices were also issued.
Acting Inspector Chris Hartshorne, of Hartlepool Police, said: “This is a multi-agency, intelligence led operation to target people we believe are involved in metal thefts across the district.
“This is a national, as well as a local problem and causes significant disruption to the local and national economies.
“It is affecting residents as well as small businesses and larger manufacturing sites.”
He added that a host of information had been gathered during the operation that will help stop future thefts.
Anyone caught breaking the law to boost their income will also have their details passed on to those handling their benefits and their payments could be pulled.
Hartlepool Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon said the infrastructure of the town was being “stripped away” by a handful of thieves and vowed to catch those responsible.
He added: “We are trying to make Hartlepool a viable place for investment.
“We will not tolerate a small minority of people who are giving the region a bad name in relation to the theft of metals.”