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Metal being stolen from wind farms every week  

Carrick’s wind farms are being robbed of thousands of pounds of metal every week in a spate of raids.

Thieves have already broken into four sites a total of 20 times to steal the copper earthing strips running down turbines.

Metal prices have hit the roof amid huge demand from economically developing nations such as China, and each 15 metre strip can now fetch £400.

Since the end of November, when the thefts began, the replacement bill for the energy companies has passed £25,000.

The farms hit are Carland Cross, Four Boroughs in Blackwater, Higher Penwartha in Perranporth, and Tregavethan in Truro.

Leading the investigation, DC Lynne James said: “It’s a very lucrative way of making money by impeding a natural way of getting electricity.

“We don’t know if they are opportunists or whether they know what they are doing.”

Each time an earthing strip is removed, the turbine must be closed down because of the danger of an electricity build up.

The energy companies are worried that the thieves will electrocute themselves.

Security guards are now patrolling the sites on and off and CCTV has been installed.

But catching the criminals is proving difficult because of the sites’ isolated locations.

Local scrap yards have been contacted.

This Is Cornwall

14 February 2008

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