GWENT Police officers have been recognised for their work towards tackling the theft of metal at the National Metal Theft Awards, hosted by the British Transport Police (BTP) in London.

Gwent officers took three awards; the outstanding personal award was awarded to Sergeant Simon Clark; outstanding national rural crime initiative to CSO Allan Mills and Sgt Simon Clark; National Team of the Year to Gwent Police and British Transport Police.

The awards featured police, partners and members of the scrap metal industry for their outstanding contribution for tackling metal theft.

Over the past 18 months, the joint team – comprising officers from a BTP team at Cardiff, as well as the Gwent Police ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) Tasking Team – have had a number of successes, with 200 arrests made since the introduction of the joint team; £8,000-worth of scrap metal seized and forfeited under the Police Property Act and a 43 percent reduction in metal theft across Gwent.

Sergeant Simon Clark, from Gwent Police, said: “We have been working hard to target metal thefts and the illegal sale of metal, together with our partners such as British Transport Police.

“This has been reflected in numerous changes to legislation such as the ban on cash payments as well as the requirements for scrap metal dealers, motor salvage operators and vehicle dismantlers that run a business, site or are a mobile collector to now have a licence to trade.

“We are really pleased that this work has been recognised by with these awards. Over the last couple of years, there has been a 43.89 per cent reduction in metal thefts, but our focus remains very much on driving down the number of thefts even further by continuing to work with the trade and partner agencies.”