Thieves target copper as scrap prices rise

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The Independent Online

Rising metal prices are fuelling a growing black market trade in scrap copper as increasingly sophisticated gangs target guttering and power lines.

Last Friday, thieves caused severe delays on the rail line between Reading and London Paddington after removing several metres of copper cabling from lines used to power signals.

The electricity supplier E.ON says thieves armed with chainsaws have cut down wooden poles used to carry 11,000-volt cables in the Midlands, risking their lives and leaving thousands of homes without power.

Meanwhile, BT has reported a 10 per cent surge in cable theft as scrap copper prices reach a high of about £1,400 a tonne.