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West Midlands: Metal thief banned from scrap yards nationwide

September 25, 2012, 1:11 pm

A metal thief has been banned from scrap yards across England and Wales after a raid at a West Bromwich metal recyclers.

Craig Airnes, from Bearwood, was arrested and charged with burglary after a break in at a scrap metal yard on Birmingham Road on 8 September.

The 34-year-old was arrested a short time later and was in court to answer a charge of burglary the same week. He was handed a 16-week suspended sentence after pleading guilty at Warley Magistrates Court on 24 September.

During the hearing Airnes was also handed a Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order (CRASBO)  which prevents him from handling scrap metal or any metal object more than a kilo in weight, unless in possession of a receipt.

The order also prevents the offender from entering certain areas in Sandwell including West Bromwich Central, Greets Green, The Lyng and St Pauls.  If he breaches the order then he can be arrested and put before the court again, possibly resulting in a custodial prison sentence.

Sergeant Colin Gallier, from the Offender Management Team at Sandwell, said: “It is quite rare for such wide restrictions to be placed on individuals when they receive a CRASBO and so we are very pleased with this sentence.

“The prohibitions in place as a result of this CRASBO allow us to significantly control Airnes’ behaviour. The exclusion zone prevents him from entering a large area which is a very positive outcome for the neighbourhood.”

The order comes as West Midlands Police launch a crackdown on metal thieves and rogue scrap dealers across the region.

Scrap metal dealers throughout the West Midlands will be asking anyone trying to sell goods for photo identification, as the region becomes the latest area to adopt the national scheme  Operation Tornado.

The aim is to crack down on metal theft nationwide, by giving thieves nowhere to get rid of their stolen wares. In some cases, thefts have closed school, seen memorials defaced and phone and internet access cut to whole neighbourhoods.

The scheme is currently voluntary, however the vast majority of traders across the region will be participating in the initiative, which means that anyone who wants to sell metal to participating dealers in the Midlands will now be required to provide proof of their identity.

The move comes as the new Midlands region metal theft taskforce steps up their work to tackle organised criminals stealing large-scale or high-value metals. The team, which sits within West Midlands Force CID, works in partnership with lead officers from West Mercia, Staffordshire and Warwickshire areas to further reduce crime.

Since the start of 2012 metal theft offences have been slashed by half across the West Midlands. Operation Steel has been running throughout the region for more than two years, with dedicated officers working tirelessly to buck the national trend of spiralling numbers of metal thefts.

The operation has seen officers working as part of dedicated metal theft teams, targeted uniformed patrols, DNA property marking and tighter controls for scrap metal traders.

Anyone with information as part of Operation Steel is urged to call their local West Midlands Police station by dialling 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime

101 – The police non-emergency number

101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.
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