EX­PERT: £1M IS A CON­SER­VA­TIVE ES­TI­MATE. TH­ESE WERE PRO­FES­SION­ALS, WORK­ING NIGHT SHIFTS

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS -

Metal theft is big busi­ness, as stolen cop­per, lead and other ma­te­ri­als is es­ti­mated to cost the UK econ­omy £220 mil­lion per year.

An ex­pert in metal theft said he be­lieves the true cost of the Stob­hill raid would dwarf the cur­rent £1m es­ti­mate.

Jim Scott, metal theft lead at the Scot­tish Busi­ness Re­silience Cen­tre, was con­sulted about the Stob­hill op­er­a­tion af­ter the scale of the break-in was dis­cov­ered.

He said: “I would say that £1m was a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate.”

Mr Scott added that the theft was no ama­teur en­ter­prise and the gang who car­ried out the raid would be well drilled pro­fes­sion­als.

“They were very or­gan­ised,” he said. “The crim­i­nals were ba­si­cally work­ing night shifts in

the place. The only thing they didn’t have was a clock-in, clock-out ma­chine.

“Un­for­tu­nately, they cut through a live ca­ble which caused an in­ci­dent and a fire in the new hospi­tal.”

He added: “They will go for the cop­per first. The lead will be the last re­sort be­cause it’s less valu­able and it’s harder to trans­port.

“It’s not just the theft, it’s the dam­age that the thefts do to the build­ings. It cre­ates bro­ken-win­dow syn­drome, which means it’s more likely to at­tract fur­ther crim­i­nal­ity.”

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