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The consistent rising cost of metal during recent years has seen a growth in metal theft across the Upper North Island.
Thieves are targeting railway lines, graveyards and churches, community facilities, irreplaceable works of art, manhole covers and corporate resources.
The problem of metal theft was highlighted recently by the theft of aluminum blocks and a large bronze moulding, valued at approximately 50,000NZD from a factory in South Auckland.
This metal is likely to be sold through scrap metal recyclers.
"Metal theft crime represents a direct attack on our communities as grave plaques and other items have been stolen and traded" Inspector Gary Davey says.
Police say that the Second Hand Dealers and Pawn Brokers Act 2004 is now being enforced more consistently across the Upper North Island and prosecution of offenders is likely to rise as a result.
This week Police will again be visiting more Auckland and Northland Second Hand Dealers, Scrap Metal Merchants, Gold Buyers and Automotive Dismantlers in the search for stolen property. This follows on from previous successful operations focusing on dealers .
This activity forms part of Project Pearl, a NZ Police initiative aimed at preventing and reducing property theft across the Upper North Island.
Police are working with the members of the second hand goods and scrap metal industries to make it harder for criminals to trade in stolen goods.
Police are also encouraging people to enter all the serial numbers of their valuable belongings on the SNAP website in order to make it easier to trace stolen property. Visit http://www.snap.org.nz.
Anyone with any information about stolen property is encouraged to call their local police station, or if they wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.