Crackdown on scrap metal in Croydon leads to recovery of prestigious music prize

By SWLondoner staff

Croydon officers were surprised to find a prestigious music award in a scrap metal yard during a crackdown on metal theft last month.

The Ivor Novello award, whose recipients include Adele and Emeli Sande, was among many items found during Operation Ferrous, a london-wide day of action to tackle metal theft.

Three stolen push bikes and 500kg of stolen BT telephone exchange batteries were also found, with 21 arrests made for a number of offences throughout the day.

After extensive enquiries, officers found that the award was made specifically for the Ivor Novello Institute and went missing during an office move in 1999.

Acting Inspector James Coomber, of the MPS London Regional Intelligence Unit said that metal theft is down 50% compared with this time last year thanks to activities generated by Operation Ferrous.

“Metal crime does not represent one single crime type itself but falls into one of five major crime types: criminal damage, burglary (dwelling & non-dwelling), theft from motor vehicle and other theft,” he said.

“Operations to disrupt this crime type, which is often committed by highly organised criminals, will continue to be developed and co-ordinated by the London Regional Intelligence Unit with the support of Borough and Specialist staff.”

In total 7,621 metal crimes were reported during 2012 costing an estimated £11 million. This is down from 10,181 reported offences in 2011 costing £13 million.

The theft of catalytic converters, particularly from Mercedes Sprinter vans, continues to present a challenge for the MPS, as they contain precious metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum which are more valuable than copper and lead. To date there have been 596 catalytic converter thefts.

Costs for this type of offence have been calculated from crime reports which include damage caused during theft and cost of replacement which is often in excess of the actual scrap metal value of the property stolen. A stolen catalytic converter can fetch anything between £50-100 scrap value but will cost the victim around £1,500-2,000 to replace.

Picture courtesy of Ray Forster, with thanks

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