Barlestone Targeted By Scrap Metal Thieves

Wednesday July 17th saw Barlestone once again fall victim to scrap metal thieves as they attempted to pull out metres of copper telephone wiring from the A447 outside of the village.

How It’s Done

Metal theives break into BT manholes and cut the telephone cable at two points along the road, then attempt to rip it out of the ground by tying it to a vehicle in order to cash in on soarng scrap metal values which have seen copper fetch as much as £6,000 a tonn.

Local residents and businesses such as the village Co-op were left without telephone and Internet services whilst BT OpenReach were left to repair the damaged lines. Service was restored to the village on Sunday morning.


As well as local businesses being unable to process credit card transactions, Barlestone Surgery was also left without telephone lines while the cable was being replaced. Furthermore, villagers were left without telephone lines of their own,  meaning many would have been unable to call the emergency services should they have needed.

How This Can Be Prevented

The theft of scrap metal is at record levels due to spiralling metal prices for scap lead and copper. With BT’s telephone network in the rural area still being made of copper wire, this is a tempting target for opportunistic thieves who can remove large quantities of it and scrap it in for cash. However, such practises could be reduced with a few simple measures:

1) Upgrade the BT phone network to Fibre Optic. Fibre Optic cables are made of glass, and don’t have any scrap value to theives. BT are upgrading their network (to their 21st Century Network) however as yet there is no forecast date for Barlestone or surrounded villages served by Market Bosworth Telephone Exchange.

2) Enforce Waste Carriers Licences. Waste management laws dictate that any vehicle carrying waste must be able to document where the waste came from, and that they are licenced to carry it. If the police enforce waste management laws, theives would have a harder time carrying the stolen metal and disposing of it.

3) Eliminate the means to scrap stolen metal. Enforcing the law at scrap metal dealers not to accept telephone cable, manhole covers or any other suspect material would help deter the theives from stealing it in the first place. If scrap revenue was paid into bank accounts and not in cash, this would also deter many theives from using this as a means to make money illegally.

Information Needed

The theft of the telephone cabling outside of Barlestone was covered by the Leicester Mercury, who like us are appealing for anyone who knows anything about the thefts to claim £1,000 in reward money and to telephone 0800 555 111.

That is as if we all didn’t know anyway.

Arrest in Barlestone in Police Operation on Underground Trading

Source: This is Leicestershire

A total of eight people were arrested yesterday in a police operation to tackle the underground trade in stolen goods. Police presence was high in Barlestone as a team of officers were seen around the Spinney Drive, Meadow Road and Bosworth Road area.

Leicestershire police detained the suspects in a series of raids across the county yesterday morning.

Officers recovered a range of electrical goods, a quantity of drugs – thought to be cannabis – and cash during early-morning raids. The suspects were arrested when police officers executed search warrants at 10 addresses in areas including Braunstone Frith, Beaumont Leys and Braunstone, in Leicester, plus Ratby, Coalville and Barlestone.

They were being questioned by detectives last night and further arrests were expected today. The action was the latest phase of a campaign called Operation Consequence, which was set up in September 2009 to tackle crimes such as burglary and theft.

The latest action was targeted at people the force believes are involved in the handling of stolen goods. The force kept the public informed of developments throughout yesterday by posting brief updates on the social networking site Twitter. Leicestershire’s deputy chief constable David Evans said: “There have been a number of phases to Operation Consequence and we have arrested more than 2,000 people since we launched it almost 18 months ago. “This is a key element in our strategy to reduce crime.”

Cannabis Factory Found in Barlestone Home

A cannabis growing operation of 216 plants has been found by police in Cunnery Close in Barlestone.

The operation was identified by a police helicopter searching for a missing boy in the village serveral nights before. Its thermal imaging camera lit up the house, causing the pilot to notify officers on the ground who launched an investigation. The house was subsequently raised on Tuesday March 30th. The plants were thought to carry a value of £1,000 each, making the haul worth £216,000.

Head of Hinckley police, Inspector Rich Ward told This Is Leicestershire “It had heat-seeking equipment on and all of a sudden this house was shining out like a beacon”.

A man was thought to be living in the kitchen of the property, babysitting the plants for other people associated with the drugs trade.

Suburban houses are thought to be targeted by cannabis growers due to thier low profile. Growers typically rent out a property, then unknown to the landlord proceed to install heavy duty electrical and ventilation systems needed to grow their crops. Cannabis plants require sophisticated ventilation systems and industrial grade heating and lighting in order to grow successfully, which normally results in the rented property being sunstantially modified in order to accommodate it.