Four people have been arrested by police in Somerset as part of a crackdown on crime centred on scrapyards and the illegal dumping and trading of waste materials. Officers from the Environment Agency joined police in dawn raids near Bridgwater, Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet.
The raid near Glastonbury was part of Operation Tornado, a national clampdown on metal theft. Enforcement officers from Mendip District Council, British Transport Police and Network Rail also took part. The four suspects arrested have been bailed until next February.
A police crackdown on scrap metal thefts in the south west starts today. It follows a similar operation in the North East which led to a 60 per cent fall in reported crimes. In future scrapyards will have to ask for ID and documents from anyone selling them metal and cables.
It's a huge problem, with such thefts estimated to cost a billion pounds a year nationwide.