SCRAP DEALER GUILTY OF TRADING IN STOLEN METAL / POLICE SEIZE SUB-MACHINE GUN IN PENGE / RAIDS TARGET COUNTERFEIT GOODS / MOTORCYCLE THEFTS IN EAST DULWICH
SCRAP DEALER GUILTY OF TRADING IN STOLEN METAL
A scrap metal dealer from Croydon has been found guilty of taking in stolen metal at his scrap yard, including stolen crematorium plaques,that he then went on to cut up into small pieces in an attempt to disguise them.
The man, from Dulwich, was found guilty at Croydon crown court of three counts of possession of criminal property, one count of disguising criminal property and one count of attempting to receive stolen goods.
Police raidedthe man’s scrap metal yard in Croydon in May 2012 as part of a London-wide crackdown on metal theft.
The scrap metal yard had been brought to the attention of police after trading standards officers from Croydon expressed their concern that stolen metal was being accepted there.
When police entered the scrap yard, officers found several bags and boxes containing hundreds of memorial plaques that had been stolen from cemeteries across the south-east region, with some even marked with SmartWater – a liquid that has a unique forensic ‘code’ that allows police to trace their origin.
Many of the plaques had been cut up at the yard into small pieces in an attempt to disguise them.
Officers also discovered a large bronze dragon statue that had been stolen from an address in Teddington, as well as a statue of Jesus Christ, which had been stolen from Putney Vale Cemetery.
In order to identify where the plaques had been stolen from, officers from Croydon spent several hours painstakingly piecing them back together.
The man was arrested and charged with offences the following day and was bailed pending his court appearance.
In the meantime, detectives set about trawling through CCTV footage at the yard, and found footage that showed him overseeing the cutting-up of the memorial plaques by his machines – plaques that he claimed at court, that he had no knowledge of.
In March 2013, suspicious that he was continuing to receive stolen goods whilst on bail and awaiting his trial, police contacted UK Power Networks, who assisted them with an undercover operation where an officer sold brand-new copper wiring to him, making it obvious to the man that the goods were stolen as he was accepting it.
Sergeant George Shannon, based at Croydon police station, who led the investigation said:
“I can only describe his attitude throughout this whole process as brazen. “He tried to deny any knowledge of receiving stolen items, but some of the memorial plaques even had the mud and wall plugs attached where they’d been prized from the graves.
“There was little doubt that he knew they were stolen and he had absolutely no regard for the law. “His actions, in accepting stolen metal, have fuelled other criminal activity by thieves stealing metal to make a quick profit by selling it to unscrupulous scrap dealers like him.
“Metal theft has a huge impact on society – be it through delays on train networks where cabling has been stolen, or the emotional effects associated with the theft of memorial plaques.
“The majority of registered scrap metal dealers are operating correctly, but we will continue to target those who don’t and will bring the full force of the law against them.
“Now that he’s been found guilty of these offences, we will certainly be considering further action against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act to look at confiscating any assets he has gained through his criminal activity.”
The man is due to be sentenced on 3 November.
POLICE SEIZE SUB-MACHINE GUN IN PENGE
A sub-machine gun has beenseized by police following the arrest of two men for drug and fraud offences.
Lambeth police recovered the Scorpion sub-machine gun, a magazine of ammunition and a silencer during the search of an address in Penge on Tuesday 16 September.
RAIDS TARGET COUNTERFEIT GOODS
Officers from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), alongside partner agencies, haveconducted three warrants to disrupt the supply of counterfeit goods including one at premises in Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood.
Officers from Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN), Intelligence Property Office (IPO) REACT Services UK Ltd, Her Majesties Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and London Fire Brigade were involved in the operation.
Warrants were carried out at commercial and residential addresses in Beulah Hill, Streatham High Road and Blackthorn Road, Reigate, Surrey.
Police say there was a significant police presence at each location as part of the ongoing enquiries, but there is no threat to the public in relation to this operation.
“Officers found a large amount of suspected counterfeit designer items ranging from aftershave and perfumes to handbags and clothing.”
A 61-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and trademark offences.
Senior investigating officer Det Insp Simon Harsley, of SEROCU said: “These warrants focused on the disruption of organised crime groups.
“This is not about just some cheaper fake goods. “Organised crime groups exploit people in other countries, who are forced to work in sweat factories, under appalling conditions, while the offenders live lavish lifestyles.
“Unknowing customers buy goods which go directly into the pockets of these types of offenders, resulting in more human suffering around the world.
“I hope today’s warrant sends out a strong message to offenders that we are closing the net on organised crime groups who operate in the supply and distribution of counterfeit goods.”
If you have any concerns, call police on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.
If you don’t want to speak to the police directly, you can call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
MOTORCYCLE THEFTS IN EAST DULWICH
Police investigating the theft of a blue Yamaha R1 motorcycle from outside an address in Abbotswood Road, East Dulwich overnight between 22 and 23 September say it is the fourth reported theft of a motor cycle in East Dulwich ward in the last four weeks.
Police say the East Dulwich Safer Neighbourhoods Team are actively tackling this issue, in partnership with the local authority. Daily ward patrols are being made in the area and vehicle crime prevention literature is being delivered to every household in East Dulwich.
The MPS offers the following advice to help motorbike owners protect themselves against vehicle crime:
Most motorbikes are stolen when they are picked up and taken away in another vehicle, with chains still intact. To help prevent this, consider investing in a ground anchor for increased security. Fit strong locks and remember to lock the garage if you have one.
Invest in a security device and always use it.
Purchase an immobiliser, preferably one that is approved by your insurance company
Use an alarm together with an immobiliser. The alarm will draw attention to a potential thief, whilst the immobiliser will prevent them from stealing the motorbike
Cover your motorbike if at all possible.
Consider having your motorbike’s registration number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto all glass surfaces, including headlamps. These numbers can be linked to recognised security databases.
Property mark bike parts with your postcode or registration number, using an ultra violet marker pen. Keep a record of the parts you’ve marked. Marked items can be used as hard evidence against a thief, if they are caught with them, and are hard to sell on. It will also increase the owner’s chance of getting the bike back if stolen and then recovered.
Don’t leave any keys on view in your home or in an obvious place. Keep them away from doors and windows. If keys can be seen from outside, the opportunist thief could access them through openings such as letterboxes or break into your home to get to them.