POLICE are appealing for information to trace thieves who stole metal thought to be worth £40,000 from a Newport steelworks.

Workers at Mir Steel, which is based on Corporation Road, reported a burglary on Tuesday but it is thought the items could have been stolen several nights before that.

An outbuilding was broken into and larger cooper plates, which are colour coded red, yellow and blue, were stolen, along with a large amount of industrial cabling. It has a black outer skin which contains three triangular shaped 0.25 inch cables which were also colour coded red, yellow and blue.

No one from Mir Steel was available to comment on the theft yesterday (Thurs).

Metal thefts is a common problem in the Gwent area with Gwent Police dealing with considerably more metal thefts last year than the other three police forces in Wales.

According to Home Office statistics, Gwent Police dealt with 1,358 of them, whereas South Wales Police dealt with 976, North Wales with 778 and Dyfed-Powys Police with 478.

From the Gwent thefts, 691 were infrastructure-related metal thefts. According to the Home Office they are thefts which have a direct impact on how a building or machinery will work. This includes any metals connected to services like water, heating, electricity, roofing lead or service cabling and railway cabling.

Non-infrastructure-related metal thefts, of which there were 667 reported in Gwent last year, involved the removal of metal that has no impact on how a building or machinery might work. Examples of this include war memorial plaques, metal being unused or gates or fencing.

The highest rate of metal theft was in the West Yorkshire Police area, where police dealt with 3,862. The next highest was in South Yorkshire, which had 3,845 reported thefts.

Anyone with information on the theft at Mir Steel is asked to call 101 and quote log number 234 24/06/14.