Copper theft rampant

CRACKING DOWN: SAPOL Operations Inspector Mark Hubbard is urging the community to help police stop offenders from stealing copper and other scrap metal from Whyalla properties.
CRACKING DOWN: SAPOL Operations Inspector Mark Hubbard is urging the community to help police stop offenders from stealing copper and other scrap metal from Whyalla properties.

Police have been dealing with a high rate of copper thefts in and around Whyalla, with 26 incidents over the past three months.

The thefts include other kinds of scrap metal that has been sold to local dealerships on occasion. Residential properties and HousingSA properties have been targeted by the offenders, as well as vacant homes.

SAPOL Operations Inspector Mark Hubbard urged the community to call CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 with regards to any information that could lead to the arrest of offenders trading in scrap metal.

"We estimate that tens of thousands of dollars worth of scrap metal has been stolen over the past few months, and we're keen to identify where this metal is being sold," he said.

"It's very hard to trace scrap metal back to a particular property it has been stolen from."

The ongoing series of thefts has also caused significant damage to existing water systems, with copper being extracted by the offenders.

"In order to steal the copper from a hot water system they will do irreparable damage to the system itself. Quite often the cost of the damage caused by extracting the metal is higher than the value of the metal itself," Mr Hubbard said.

"When you consider that we've had 26 incidents over the past three months, this is something that we really want to bring to an end."