POLICE in York took part in a day of action to tackle the rising problem of metal theft.

As part of Operation Tornado, officers urged scrap yard operators to support a new identification scheme which aims to restrict the sale and movement of scrap metal with dealers agreeing to buy metal only from sellers who can produce two forms of identity.

Among those visited were Pigotts, in Strensall, L Clancey and Sons, in Murton Lane, York, and Horwell Brothers Ltd, in Foss Islands Road.

Jim Pigott, owner of Pigotts, said: “We are quite happy to support the police in their endeavours. This kind of activity [metal theft] doesn’t do anyone any favours.”

Richard Clancey, of Clancey and Sons, said: “Trading standards came down to check our weighbridges to make sure everything was up to scratch.

“We never have a problem with police and authorities doing their bit to make sure scrap dealers are doing everything by the book.”

More than a dozen officers were involved in targeting criminals by checking vehicles for stolen metal and patrolling major routes in and out of the city.

They stopped 22 vehicles and issued 12 enforcement notices for road offences.

Police, and City of York Council trading standards officers, also marked catalytic converters for free at Halford’s at Foss Island to prevent vehicles being targeted.

Officers also carried out crime prevention work at Naburn Marina following a spate of thefts, and a number of boat owners signed up to a new Boat Watch scheme.

Police later carried out enforcement checks at hotspots known for metal theft as part of a national, co-ordinated day of action.

Sergeant Andy Duffield said: “The aim of the operation is to conduct a day of action with partners to target vehicles carrying scrap metal, vehicles associated with crime, particularly rural crime, and disrupting the activity of those involved with stealing scrap metal.”

Metal theft has been described as Yorkshire’s fastest-growing crime, causing damage and disruption to churches and other historic buildings, and to transport networks, particularly the railways.

In York alone on Wednesday six catalytic converters were stolen from a fleet of vehicles belonging to the Miller food service in Hospital Fields, while in an unrelated theft, three men were arrested after metal was stolen from the Priory Street Hotel in Fulford.