North East named as ‘metal theft capital’

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THE region has been named the capital of metal theft, a police chief has claimed.

One of the country’s most senior policemen named the North East as the “epicentre” for the epidemic that has swept across the nation during a session in Parliament yesterday.

He added that the fines imposed on those who are caught stealing metal is not enough to deter people.

Paul Crowther, Deputy Chief Constable of British Transport Police, said: “The North East seems to be the epicentre of metal thefts as far as the railways are concerned.

“That is maybe down to the tradition of heavy industry in the area where people are used to dealing in metal and understand the value of this.”

Mr Crowther was speaking the day after a string of attacks took place on the Metro system.

Essential overhead equipment was stolen from the overhead line at South Hylton Metro in Sunderland at about 4.30am yesterday, which caused major disruption.

Between January 1 and August 31 this year, Northumbria Police recorded 3,376 metal thefts.