Theft of metal in South Wales is now so serious it has been described as "endemic" as its economy is losing millions of pounds a year.

According to WalesOnline, metal thefts are up because the price of copper has gone through the roof – a tonne of metal can net thieves over £5,000.

The British Transport Police’s (BTP) detective inspector Mark Cleland told the news provider: "It's a problem that is now endemic in society. Companies like Western Power, electrical companies, local authorities, it is affecting all these.

"But more importantly it is affecting everyday people."

He explained that railway cable thefts mean trains can't run, theft of manhole covers is leaving the streets dangerous, and the pilfering of metal from substations is affecting energy supply to residences.

Detailing the spate of thefts in South Wales recently, the news provider reported that £80,000 of copper was stolen from a trading estate in Barry.

Yesterday (December 2nd), the BTP announced a reward of £1,000 for information after cable was stolen from a railway line in Castleford, meaning four trains were cancelled and seven delayed.