South East Wales

Metal theft film by police and council highlights damage

A hard-hitting film depicting how metal thefts can affect people's lives has been launched in south Wales.

It explains how thefts caused £250,000 in damage to communities across Rhondda Cynon Taf in the last nine months.

The thefts stopped hospital operations, caused funeral services to be postponed and led to school flooding.

Items stolen include street lighting cables and litter bins as well as heating boilers, copper pipes and lead flashing to waterproof church roofs.

"Enough is enough," said Supt Simon Clarke from South Wales Police.

"The actions of these criminals show that they think nothing of the damage they are causing to our communities.

"As well as targeting some of our most vulnerable people, including school children, they are also in some cases putting lives in danger and costing law abiding taxpayers thousands of pounds."

Rhondda Cynon Taf council and police joined forces to fight metal thefts in March.

The film is being used in the latest campaign and aims to target people responsible and encourage residents to report the "mindless " thefts.

It shows how a man ends up in hospital when he tries to steal cable from a street light and suffers electrical burns.

The film shows how a man dies after stealing power cables

However, he cannot receive the treatment he needs because the hospital he is sent to has also been hit by metal thefts.

Then his funeral service is postponed due to flooding in the church where the lead flashing has been stolen.

All locations featured have been targeted by thieves, including Llandough Hospital, in the Vale of Glamorgan, where thefts led to 80 operations being cancelled.

Cancelled

Religious services had to be cancelled at Glyntaff Crematorium, Pontypridd, after thieves caused £9,000 of damage.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, the cabinet member for frontline services for Rhondda Cynon Taf, said: "Metal theft has cost the council alone over a quarter of a million pounds, money we could be spending on other services to benefit our residents.

"Apart from this, we are fed up of having our communities endangered, inconvenienced and upset by the mindless theft of metal from our street lighting columns, roads and even precious buildings such as churches and crematoriums."

A total of four schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf have been flooded and closed to pupils after boilers were ripped out and lead flashing stolen from roofs.

Meanwhile, sports fixtures in Rhondda Cynon Taf have had to be cancelled due to over £15,000 in damage.

The DVD says every week about 1,000 metal thefts occur, costing the UK economy about £770m a year.

It is being premiered at Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd, on Wednesday at 14:00 BST.

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