Police hunt metal thieves with sniffer dog at Blackwall Tunnel and on A13
PUBLISHED: 08:35 30 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:22 30 May 2014
Police have made roadside swoops and raided scrap yards across east London and Essex hunting international metal thieves—using the world’s first sniffer dog trained to detect metals.
Lorries were stopped at the A12 Blackwall Tunnel at Poplar and along the A13 in Dagenham, while other raids were carried out at scrap yards in Redbridge and Havering.
Officers recovered £4,600 of Thames water cable and 50kg of BT cable during the checks made between May 19 and 23.
They targeted “foreign national offenders travelling across borders or through ports” with stolen metals, Scotland Yard confirmed last night.
The operation by the Met Police and forces throughout the UK was aimed at activities with “direct links to organised crime at home and overseas”.
A two-year old black Labrador named Jazz was used, on loan from a security company, the first in the world to be trained to sniff out stolen metal marked with Selecta DNA.
Jazz touches the metal with her nose to identify a target scent, which tips off officers to move in and carry out further searches.
“We are determined to make life difficult for thieves and dealers profiting from crime,” Chief Supt Sultan Taylor said. “Metal theft and unlawful metal dealing won’t be tolerated.”
Swoops were made on 40 scrap yards and motor salvage operators in east London and elsewhere to make sure they were complying with the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act banning cash transactions, aimed at disrupting unlicensed trading in catalytic converters and cables.
A suspect was arrested in Redbridge where seven catalytic converters were found in car boot and pipe cutters and CS gas canisters were discovered in a safe at a scrap yard. A scrap metal dealer in Havering was served with Closure Notice under the Act.
Metal thefts have hit telecommunications, transport such as overhead cables stolen from rail networks and power supplies.
But a 29 per cent reduction has been recorded in metal theft crime in London alone, due to police operations and the ban on cash payments to make sure there is a cheque or bank transfer audit trail.