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Assembly Committee Shocked By Level Of Metal Theft In Northern Ireland

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 05 July 2012

Reference: ENV 11/11/12

Incidents of metal theft in Northern Ireland have more than tripled since 20071. Greatly concerned by this sharp increase, the Assembly Environment Committee has received briefings from the Northern Ireland Utilities Working Group comprising NIE, NIW, BT and Translink and the British Metal Recyclers Association (BMRA) to examine what can be done to combat the growing problem.

Environment Committee Chairperson, Anna Lo MLA said: "The rate at which metal theft crime is growing in Northern Ireland is very worrying and from the briefings today, it is clear that more needs to be done to tackle the problem. The two Departments of Environment and Justice need to work together and develop measures to deter perpetrators as well as introduce stronger legislation for buyers."

"This crime has a significant impact on the general public, for example, the theft of manhole covers can cause traffic disruption, as well as safety concerns for road users, and the theft of utility cables can cause interference with key services and put lives in danger. Although the increasing levels of metal theft in Northern Ireland are very worrying, they are not as high as the number of incidents in the rest of the UK. However, we are concerned that the crime will continue to grow to similar levels, as in the rest of the UK, and we would like to see action from the Departments to prevent this from happening."

ENDS

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