Joint police and council taskforce hunts for metal thieves in Radlett

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 September 2016

Operation Crucible saw police carry out checks on scrap metal dealers, including in St Albans and Hertsmere

Operation Crucible saw police carry out checks on scrap metal dealers, including in St Albans and Hertsmere

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Attempts to foil metal thieves failed to strike gold recently when police and heritage experts joined together in a coordinated enforcement operation.

Heritage Watch at St Albans CathedralHeritage Watch at St Albans Cathedral

Forty-two vehicles were checked to ensure they were carrying relevant waste carrier and scrap metal licences at a joint operation in Harper Lane, Radlett, on Friday September 9.

Teams consisting of representatives from Herts Police, St Albans and Hertsmere councils, and Trading Standards were helped by a scrap metal expert, as they examined vehicles involved in the haulage of waste and scrap metal.

While the goal was to uncover illegal activity, including the theft and handling of stolen scrap metal or people operating without a licence, the operation resulted in a vehicle being seized as the driver had no licence or insurance; a defective tyre being found and two verbal warnings given for minor vehicle defects.

The coordinated enforcement action was part of ‘Operation Crucible’ which carried out checks at locations throughout Herts.

New laws came into force in October 2013, tightening up scrap metal dealers’ record-keeping requirements and making it harder for thieves to dispose of stolen metal.

As part of the campaign police officers from St Albans safer neighbourhood team spoke with visitors to the Clock Tower, St Albans Cathedral and Verulamium Museum to sign people up to Heritage Watch.

The Heritage Watch scheme, signed by 34 people over the weekend of September 10-11, aims to protect local historical sites, monuments and artefacts from heritage and cultural property crime.

Mark Harrison, national policing and crime advisor for Historic England, said: “Heritage crime comes in many forms. When thieves steal metal from protected sites and buildings such as churches, they are stealing from all of us and damaging something which is often irreplaceable.”

• To become a member of the scheme, please go to www.herts.police.uk/HeritageWatch

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