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Two Men Jailed After £14,000 Metal Theft in North Yorkshire

BT Cable 260213

5:22pm 26th February 2013

Two men have been jailed for nine months and ordered to forfeit two Ford Transits after £14,000 worth of lead-coated copper cable was discovered in their vehicles when they were stopped by officers working on Operation Tornado.

Operation Tornado is a country-wide police operation targeting metal theft.

Arthur Smith, 29, of Carlton Caravan Site, Carlton, Goole and William Arthur Robshaw, 24, of Cottingley Springs Caravan Site, Gildersome, Leeds, were arrested on 23 May last year after Roads Policing Officers stopped their vehicles near Towton, Tadcaster.

Officers found 1.5 tonnes of stolen BT communications cable in each vehicle worth a total of £14,265.

The pair were both charged under the Proceeds of Crime Act with the offence of possessing criminal property and appeared at Selby Magistrates Court on 2 August 2012.

Smith pleaded guilty to the offence at a later plea and direction hearing. Robshaw pleaded not guilty but was later found guilty by jury.

They were both sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment at York Crown Court on Monday 25 February 2013. A forfeiture order was also granted in respect of two vehicles owned by the pair and used to transport the cable - a 2007 registered Ford Transit pickup owned by Smith and a 2009 registered Ford Transit drop-side lorry owned by Robshaw.

Investigating officer, Traffic Sergeant Julian Pearson, of Tadcaster Roads Policing Group, said: “This is an excellent result and sends a clear message to criminals that we won’t tolerate them using the roads to further their illegal activity.  

“I hope members of the public are pleased with the sentence, in particular the loss of their vehicles which will be sold and the proceeds placed into a central fund which local good causes can access.

“As this case demonstrates, we will use all the legislation available to us to punish wrongdoing. Not only can they face custodial sanctions, but we will do everything possible to deprive them of their property and hit them where it hurts the most  - their pocket.

“The Police need the public’s support to stop metal theft and I urge anyone that sees suspicious activity in their area to contact the police without delay.”

Anyone with information about suspicious people, vehicles or activity in your neighbourhood, please do not hesitate to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room.

Information can also be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.

If you see a crime in progress, always dial 999.

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