New scheme aims to cut metal thefts across Cheltenham
METAL thefts causing countless headaches for firms and residents across Cheltenham could soon be cut by a third under a new scheme.
Villages have been plunged into darkness as hundreds of metres of precious metals have been taken by thieves.
But a new scheme started by the borough council and Gloucestershire police aims to dramatically reduce the thefts.
The project has seen scrap dealers sign up to a code of practice designed to prevent the crooks from selling on their ill-gotten goods.
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Copper from live electricity substations and railways tracks have been targeted as the price of metals rose.
The scheme was first run in the Forest of Dean last year and led to a 33 per cent decrease in metal thefts within six months.
Chief Inspector Andy Wasley, said: "This new code of good practice will enhance the work Gloucestershire police are already doing in clamping down on metal thefts."
Under the scheme, all licensed dealers in the town will demand photographed identification from anyone bringing metal into the dealership. They will also keep CCTV images for 14 days and not accept it from anyone on foot.
During the first six months of 2012, there were 46 scrap metal thefts in Cheltenham. Councillor Peter Jeffries, cabinet member for housing and safety with the borough council, said: "We are committed to do as much as we can to reduce the amount and effect of metal thefts both in the borough and more nationally.
"We are extremely pleased our scrap metal dealers have agreed to adopt the new code of practice."
Andrew Burke from Burke Bros Cheltenham Ltd, based in Tewkesbury Road, welcomed the plan.
He said: "We fully support the code of practice and welcome the changes which should reduce metal theft."