RAIL travellers lives are being put at risk by thieves stealing cabling to sell for scrap.
It’s part of a sharp rise in thefts of metal which has led to police appealing to the public to look out for bogus workmen or anyone acting suspiciously around building sites.
As the economic downturn continues and the price of metals - especially copper - increases, the number of thefts has soared.
According to Central Scotland Police, there have been 46 incidents in the Falkirk area since December 1 last year where metals have been the target for thieves.
It seems anything is up for grabs and nothing is sacred, with manhole covers going missing and lead being pinched from church roofs.
Falkirk Area Commander Superintendent Robbie McGregor said: “The price of metal has gone up and, not surprisingly, we are seeing opportunists trying to make a few bob out of selling stolen metal for scrap.
“We did have a spate of thefts of manhole covers in the past and that clearly is also a public safety issue for pedestrians and motorists. We’ve even had people using wheelie bins to transport stolen metals.
“British Transport Police have had to deal with thieves stealing cabling from the railway tracks in recent months. They may only get a few pounds for the cable, but they cause thousands of pounds worth of damage and place people’s safety at risk.”
Supt McGregor is urging residents to be vigilant and aware that people hanging around construction sites at night or over the weekend may have no business being there - even if they look the part.
“They may be wearing high visibility vests, trying to appear to be bona fide workmen, but they are actually stealing metal from building sites. We are also being made aware of criminal gangs hiring digging machinery and pretending to carry out work in areas, when, in actual fact, they are stealing metal items.
“Officers are now carrying out roadside checks and high visibility patrols to try and deter and detect people involved in these activities.”