Gardaí issue serious warning over metal thefts surge
An Garda Síochána, in conjunction with Crimestoppers and ESB Networks, have launched a campaign to tackle the serious problem of metal theft.
The new campaign continues the work of the Metal Theft Forum, which was established in 2012 to develop a metal theft prevention and crime reduction plan.
Metal theft affects a large number of businesses and communities and includes the theft of electricity cables, copper wires, road signs, beer kegs, electrical goods, letterboxes and goal posts. Ireland’s electricity network, public transport and telecommunications networks have all been victims of metal theft, with criminals removing large amounts of electrical cable, signal cable and copper wire.
Of particular concern is the sharp increase in ESB Network station break-ins and the ongoing theft of electrical cable. In 2019, the number of High Voltage (HV) station break-ins doubled compared to 2018 and 2017. There have been 43 break-ins to ESB Networks substations in 2019. Serious injuries and fatalities have been caused as a direct consequence of metal theft.
John O’Driscoll, Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Síochána said: "Metal Theft can affect everyone. Specifically, stealing metal from ESB Networks' equipment causes power cuts which impact on families, businesses and the economy in general. I appeal to any person to contact An Garda Síochána, immediately, if they are aware of suspicious activity taking place close to an electrical installation on their land.
"I am also specifically appealing to any person involved in the purchase and or resale of metal products, to ask appropriate questions and report unusual sources of metal as you may inadvertently facilitate criminal activity and commit an offence of handling stolen property, if you purchase metal that is stolen."
An Garda Síochána are calling on members of the public and, in particular, the farming community with overhead power lines on their land to be vigilant of suspicious activity and to come forward with any information they may have on metal theft and people engaged in this illegal activity.
Information can be provided to your local Garda station, by calling ESB Networks on 1820 372 999 or by the Crimestoppers confidential telephone service by calling 1800 25 00 25.