THE GUARDIA CIVIL have busted a gang of Murcia-based telephone copper wire thieves and returned over three tons of wiring to their rightful owners.
Stolen copper is valuable as scrap metal as it can be easily reused to make fibre optic cables or high value plumbing or electrical parts.
It also has the advantage of being easily transportable to potential buyers.
The Guardia detected a notable rise in phone cable thefts towards the end of last year in different municipalities in the Region of Murcia.
The gang would strip off the covering of stolen copper wires and burn them at night away from urban centres in a forest area of Corvera, where officers discovered remnants of the removed jackets.
Night surveillance was stepped up in the area and a car was intercepted with over half a ton of cut phone wire coverings ready for burning.
Inspections at scrap yards and recycling centres across Murcia were stepped up at the same time to uncover the purchases of the stolen ‘bare’ copper.
11 people have been arrested by the Guardia Civil for their part in the plot, with 12 copper robberies committed in Murcia, Cartagena, Calasparra, Cehegin (2), Santomera (4), Fortuna, Los Alcazares and Torre Pacheco.
The thieves branched out further to Orihuela and San Vicente del Raspeig in Alicante province, and further north to the Albacete area in Hellin and Ontur.
The Guardia operation is continuing with more arrests and further crimes not being ruled out.
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