A concerted campaign is underway to stamp down on copper theft, frequent reports in the press about residential urbanisations and rural communities being plunged into darkness due to the theft of cabling from municipal street lighting, highlighting just how widespread the problem actually is.
Recently the council in Cartagena were put in the spotlight by press coverage of a residential urbanisation which was without street lighting due to copper cabling theft, and the councillor for urban affairs said that his department alone had been forced to spend over 140,000 euros replacing 34 kilometres of cabling in the last 2 years.
Multiply this by 45 municipalities, and add in the thefts occurring on private properties and the national road networks, and the scale of the problem can be easily appreciated.
The biggest problem for police is that once cabling has been stripped it becomes unidentifiable, so, proving its origin is always a big issue. Stricter controls have been implemented on scrapyards, trying to prevent the sale of the scrap, but at the moment, police know much of the stolen material is crossing over into different provinces, or even borders to avoid detection of the source, Portugal, for example, being a popular destination for stolen copper.
Last week officers belonging to the Molina de Segura station of the Cuerpo Nacional de Policía confiscated 80,000 kilograms of copper from an industrial warehouse where the metal was being stored in the municipality. It is estimated that the copper recovered has a market value of approximately 456,000 euros.
The police operation was part of the plan which has been implemented by the Cuerpo Nacional de Policía in scrap metal treatment and trading centres, during which they have been carrying out thorough inspections and checks on all movements of materials which are carried out by such centres.
During one of their routine inspections officers detected a large amount of copper and non-ferrous metals stored in an industrial warehouse in the municipality: further investigations revealed that a total of 80,000 tons was waiting to be melted down.
The officers involved also discovered that the warehouse had none of the required permits and licences for this kind of activity, and there was no record of where the copper and other materials had come from.
Further investigations are now concentrating on finding out where the metal came from, amidst the obvious suspicion that criminal activity may be involved.
|Murcia Region||Murcia City||Local News Murcia..|
All Text and Images are Subject to Copyright