River and vans targeted in Cumbria metal thefts

Steel from a riverbed and copper stored on the top of vans have been stolen in a spate of metal thefts across Cumbria.

Two men were seen removing steel piping from the River Cocker behind Jennings Brewery on Wednesday afternoon. They then cut it up and put it into a van.

Police said £30,000 damage to another pipe in the river caused a power cut in Cockermouth at 1547 BST.

Overnight on Tuesday, copper piping stored on the roofs of trade vehicles in Kendal were also targeted.

Police said that in connection with one of the incidents, a passer-by was assaulted and had his wallet stolen. He was hit with an iron bar and taken to hospital with head and rib injuries.

A further eight incidents of copper thefts in Kendal have been reported to Cumbria Police. All were taken from vans.

White van

Six of the thefts happened overnight on Tuesday, and three happened overnight on Monday.

Detectives are linking each incident due to their similarity and the descriptions of the offenders that witnesses have provided. Officers believe three males were involved.

Det Sgt Raz Nazir said: "The first man is described as white, in his 40s to 50s with greying sideburns, around 5ft 8in (1.73m), of a medium build with a large belly, tattoos on his left arm which were faded and he was wearing a black T-shirt.

"The second and third males are described as white, young, they were wearing dark clothing and possibly hoodies. All of them made off in a white van."

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