Charity suffers at hands of scrap metal thieves


Charity is the latest victim of metal thieves seeking to cash in.

THE epidemic of metal theft in Scotland has hit a new low after charity vehicles were targeted.

The rising price of metals on world markets has prompted an outbreak of thefts across the country, including a trebling in thefts of cabling from Scottish railways.The latest incident involved a charity set up to help teenagers with learning disabilities.The Rural and Urban Training Scheme (RUTS) in Newtongrange, Midlothian, had exhaust systems ripped from three vans.Project manager Caroline Pearson said:

“I think they had in mind what they were going to do, they must have come with the tools.’Nothing else was stolen and they left the exhaust pipes lying beside each van.’They cost about 400 each to replace and we’ve got the insurance excess as well.’It looks like they hacked through with saws to remove them.’I think it’s becoming a bit of a trend, when we phoned to get replacement ones they said a van hire firm in Newbridge also had two stolen that day.’The organisation assists teenagers with learning disabilities and those disaffected with education enjoy outdoor pursuits.While alternative transport has been found for the time being, staff warned of the need to get the vehicles back on the road.CCTV footage of the car park where the vans had been left overnight has yet to reveal anything beyond two men stalking the area for potential vehicles.Vans and other large vehicles nationwide are also under threat as thieves seek to cash in on expensive exhaust parts at scrap dealers.Catalytic converters use precious metals platinum, palladium and rhodium to remove toxins, giving them a particularly high resale value.Firms have even started selling locks for catalytic converters.