Παρασκευή, 9 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

‘Hey, come back with my solar heater’

Σε συνέχεια του Μου έκλεψαν τον ηλιακό...  
Αυτό είναι σχετικό άρθρο της Cyprus Mail: ‘Hey, come back with my solar heater’ 
 By Patrick Dewhurst Published on September 9, 2011
POLICE are battling to contain a new breed of criminal that has emerged on the island in the wake of the economic crisis, following a spate of audacious thefts including solar heaters and manhole covers.
In recent weeks, police and environmentalists said that thieves have stolen various items including statues, domestic solar panels, manhole covers from newly built roads and even debris from the Mari naval base blast.
The thieves are all after one thing: metal.
“This is a new invention, and you wouldn’t believe the things people are taking. They are taking the car exhausts and catalytic converters off parked cars and I have even heard of someone taking the solar heater off someone’s roof” Environment Commissioner Charalambos Theopemptou said yesterday.
Theopemptou has also received several reports from members of the public and people in the construction industry, who have been hard hit by thieves’ readiness to make off with any metal that is not bolted down.
“They are going into building sites and taking everything, such as doors and windows. One architectural firm has even had metal benches stolen from a building site.” He said.
Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said yesterday: “Unfortunately it is a growing problem. And it is not only scrap metal, they are taking everything. Last week they stole the {bronze] statues of missing persons in Larnaca.”
Several scrap thieves have even begun helping themselves to debris from the Mari naval base blast. As of yesterday, seven had been arrested at Mari, Katsounotos said.
In response to this growing problem, the police have begun an information campaign for scrap metal dealers, who purchase the stolen metals.
“We have visited several scrap dealers – they are obliged to keep records of all metal sellers – and we are increasing monitoring at the checkpoints (to the north of the island)”
One person has been prosecuted for scrap metal theft.
The problem is not just a social one, and contrary to what you might think – the thieves’ recycling efforts could even be taking its toll on the environment.
 According to Theopemptou, scrap scavengers are setting landfill sites ablaze in order to burn away all of the non-valuable material.
This is problem because of the trapped methane which catches fire: not only does this contribute to greenhouse gases, but can scorch nearby vegetation.
The trend is reflected throughout Europe, and while some Cypriots are involved according to Katsounotos - and have been for many years on a small scale, according to Theopemptou, many of the current culprits are from elsewhere in Europe.
In the UK in 2010 for example, the Energy Networks Association reported 6,000 metal thefts from energy networks alone, and 4,500 from January to July 2011. As in Cyprus, manhole covers and statues have also gone amiss.
According to research by the University College London, rising theft is ‘significantly associated’ with rising prices, in turn the result of the global economic crisis and rapidly industrialising developing countries. Tackling the problem, says UCL’s Aiden Sidebottom in an interview with metaltheft.net, requires that authorities tackle the dealers.
Channel 4 News footage of a metal thief in action in the UK

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