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EDITORIAL – Let copper thieves feel the full weight

luigimarshall, [email protected]

EDITORIAL – Let copper thieves feel the full weight

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FOR QUITE SOMETIME there has been an outcry against predial larceny by farmers and other people interested in agriculture.
Now another menace has come to the fore in the shape of those deviant and unpatriotic few who are stealing copper from any source, and selling it.
It does not matter to these thieves that they are causing costly inconvenience to many law-abiding citizens who are thereby handicapped as they go about their business. Nor does it cause any concern to them that if they steal the copper from the wires of the utility companies they may disrupt the flow of commercial business.
The last-mentioned criminal enterprise should cause all of us to sit up and take a serious stand.
Some Barbadians who had paid their utility bills discovered Monday their lines had been disconnected because thieves had stolen the copper off the telephone cables and had caused such damage that “at least 700 customers” in the Cane Vale, Silver Hill, Lodge Road areas of Christ Church, were without service.
This sort of illegality is not a parochial problem. Neither for that matter is predial larceny. The difference between these two types of criminality is that at one fell swoop the copper thieves can inconvenience hundreds.
Yet both these actions stem from the same criminal intent. This is an insidious attitude that must be dealt with severely by the law when the culprits are duly prosecuted.
It is particularly pleasing to hear that recycling operators have established mechanisms to deter these copper thieves from hawking their ill-gotten gains.
We applaud this sense of national responsibility by the recycling operators, and while we recognize that a similar system may be more difficult in cases of predial larceny, we feel that the farmers and supermarket and other stakeholders must similarly develop techniques that may deter would-be predial larcenists.
According to Inspector Welch of the Royal Barbados Police Force, copper thieves usually burn the coating to expose the copper, and any such activity ought to be reported to the police, along with suspicious characters climbing utility poles.