SIXTEEN people were arrested across Kirklees this week in a crackdown on scrap metal thefts.
The suspects – 14 men and two women aged 19 to 74 – are believed to have been nabbed in Dewsbury and Huddersfield.
Eight have been charged with handling stolen property, while the others are now on bail.
A total of 28 people were arrested in a West Yorkshirewide operation that saw 10 scrap yards raided, including five in Kirklees.
About £100,000 in cash was seized and large amounts of stolen metal recovered.
The raids were the culmination of a covert police operation lasting many months, based on local intelligence.
Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Geoff Dodd said: “Metal theft has become a big issue.
“Thieves are going after largescale targets such as transport infrastructure and items such as plaques marking the passing of a loved one.
“But the human impact on victims remains the same and our action sends out a loud and clear message.
“West Yorkshire Police will not tolerate metal theft. And this is by no means the end of our work to target such thefts.” The raids were welcomed by firms like British Telecom and Northern Powergrid, who have both been targeted by metal thieves.
AAC Dodd wants the public to help in further crackdowns and added: “We need people to work with us.
“That could be legitimate scrap metal dealers passing on information,
or members of the public spotting something that doesn’t look right.
“It could be something as simple as seeing people acting suspiciously around a vehicle and then making a note of the registration plate.
“Information like that could be the final piece in the jigsaw, enabling officers to make arrests.”