Police arrest gang of suspected metal thieves

Police have arrested a gang of suspected metal thieves in a series of dawn raids in East London and Essex.

Eight men and one woman were taken into custody this morning by detectives who had been watching the gang exchange tonnes of stolen BT cable since June.

Four men and a woman, aged between 25 and 35, were arrested at their homes in east London and Essex, suspected of conspiring to steal the cable.

Two other men were arrested at an east London scrapyard where much of the cable was stored.

Police also seized a stolen BT van packed with two tonnes of copper cable, worth around £15,000.

The gang posed as roadside workmen, wearinghigh visibility vests and setting up cordons and cones, when they carried out the thefts.