A massive week-long operation conducted by South Yorkshire Police has led to the arrest of 38 people for the theft of metal from security fencing and steel gates as well as for the theft of copper piping and railway cabling.

The police force, supported by the Environmental Agency and British Transport Police, staked out a number of scrap sites and conducted raids across a number of properties in Rotherham.

Notable arrests included two on suspicion of stealing one ton of steel security fencing worth £500, one arrest for stealing gold worth £700 and 13 for stealing copper piping and cabling, reported the police force.

Sergeant Dave Baines said: “Metal theft is not just a problem for Rotherham, it is a national issue. These thieves not only risk hurting themselves by targeting active gas pipes or stealing electrical cables, their actions can often place members of the public in danger, or create substantial disruption for those affected by the damaged property."

The trade in illegal scrap metal is currently experiencing a boom with a hike in prices making it very tempting to criminals.

Recently, in Scunthorpe, £500,000 worth of scrap metal was stolen Tata steelworks.

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