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Friday, December 09, 2022

Record-high copper prices surge in cable thefts

Crime stoppers have warned that an increase in copper cable theft in Victoria is putting affected people at risk.

Copper cabling has a variety of uses, including power houses, street lights and traffic signals.

It reached a record high market price of $14/kg in March.

The combination of its rising price and ubiquity has led to an increase in cable theft across the state.

“Thieves would go into a pit in the ground or anywhere where copper forms part of the infrastructure, and snatch hundreds of meters of it,” said Stella Smith, chief executive of Crime Stoppers Victoria.

“Then they’ll cash it at an unscrupulous scrap metal yard or online for $5 to $8 per kilo.”

While illegally trading in copper cable can be a quick way for criminals to make cash, the consequences can range from inconvenience to death.

Ms Smith said the exposed wires left by copper burglars put thieves and innocent people at risk of electric shock.

“This comes at a significant cost to the community, as well as when infrastructure is damaged.”

A Person Near A Car
People all over Victoria have been stealing copper.,Supply: Crime Stoppers Victoria,

Ballarat among the hotspots of copper cable theft

Michael Hayes, group manager for Powercore Australia, said the company had recently “suffered a number of copper thefts in Ballon, Backus Marsh and Ballarat”.

The company is the largest electricity distributor in Victoria, serving over one million homes.

He said PowerCore was forced to increase security measures at its public lighting spots throughout the region, including Blind Creek Road and Ballarat Link Road.

“We’re doing a lot of strategic activities … but we really need members of the public to help, because like many crimes in the community, we need as much information as we can get about who is responsible, ” They said.

Community urged to report copper theft

Crime Stoppers Victoria has partnered with Powercore to launch a new community awareness campaign aimed at reducing copper cable theft.

People are being urged to recognize signs of copper theft, including exposed wires, dislocated pit caps and people selling copper on buy and sell websites without a registered second-hand dealer.

Ms Smith said it was also important to know which authority to contact depending on the situation.

Anyone witnessing copper theft should contact the police at Triple-0, while suspicions of copper cable theft or past incidents should be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or on its website.

In case of exposed wires, contact a power distributor.

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