Crackdown on scrap metal thefts

Durham Police officers raiding houses on Hawthorn Street, Easington Colliery.
Durham Police officers raiding houses on Hawthorn Street, Easington Colliery.

POLICE carried out a day of raids and checks as part of the ongoing crackdown on metal thefts and other offences.

Three homes in Easington Colliery were targeted and dozens of officers were drafted in for the day of action across east Durham.

Operation Westgate involved 12 officers who carried out searches on two homes in Hawthorn Street and another in Easington Street.

A man was arrested on suspicion of producing cannabis, handling stolen goods and possession of drugs and another man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a class A drug and abstraction of electricity. Both been bailed pending further inquiries.

Police were also gathering intelligence about suspected metal thieves during the operation.

Sergeant Paul Footes, of Easington Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “There have been complaints about these areas of Easington Colliery and people should know that we will not tolerate criminal behaviour in this village and troublemakers should be looking over their shoulders.

“We are working with councillors and the parish council as well as residents and we would ask anyone with information which could help to get in touch.”

Meanwhile a joint operation between officers in Seaham, Peterlee and parts of Durham targeted scrap metal collectors.

Inspector Dave Coxon, of Peterlee Neighbourhood Team, said: “We stopped scrap collectors, checking their documentation, sending a clear message that those acting illegally will be targeted in our force area.

“Details will be forwarded to the local authority to check against benefit claimant records and we’ll also be liaising with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to identify those not declaring incomes.”

He said that while the operation involved extra officers, “this is part of our core work and we’ll continue to work with local communities and partners to stop people stealing metal”.

He added: “If anyone has any details of vehicles or people involved in metal thefts, they can contact us or Crimestoppers.”

Inspector Paul Anderson, of Durham Neighbourhood Policing Team, added: “The day proved very successful and sent out a good message.

“These operations will continue and we will continue to target thieves.

“I would ask anyone who sees any of these vehicles acting suspiciously to please let us know.”

l AN online forum giving Peterlee residents a chance to raise issues will be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday via http://peterleenpt.coverpage.coveritlive.com