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Five accused over Ribble Valley copper thefts
3:00pm Saturday 7th July 2012 in Ribble Valley news
FIVE Romanian men have appeared before Blackburn magistrates charged in connection with the theft of copper wiring from the Ribble Valley.
Blackburn magistrates men heard the five were arrested as they drove south on the M6 in a van and a car.
The van was found to contain over a tonne of copper wiring, worth around £20,000 which the police were able to link to a theft in the Ribble Valley.
And prosecutor Neil White said CCTV capture of the same van over a three year period had been linked to incidents of cable theft in Billington, Dinkley, Hurst Green and Downham.
“The five defendant are also being investigated as part of a police operation into metal theft in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire,” said Mr White. “it is the prosecution case that these men are involved in substantial metal and cable theft across the UK.”
Alexandru Beligan, 28, Gabriel Predusca, 23, Alexandru Tudor, 20, Mahai Antonala, 27, and Marius Avram, 47, all from the Birmingham area were sent in custody to Preston Crown Court charged with conspiracy to steal copper wiring worth £20,000 belonging to Electricity North West.
Police said there have been several major incidents of metal thefts from overhead pilons in East Lancashire in recent weeks. As well as the Ribble Valley there have also been reports of problems in Roughlee in Pendle.
The highly-dangerous thefts have left hundreds of home without power after a series of thefts, often occuring overnight.