Police in Sunderland are looking to crack down on scrap metal collectors making money after residents in Ashbrooke have seen their bins raided.
The thieves are believed to have repeatedly driven around the area, standing on top of wagons to look into back gardens and stealing any scrap metal to sell on.
Speaking at a PACT (Police and Communities Together) meeting in Ashbrooke, PCSO Andy Proudlock from Northumbria Police said: “This is a regular occurrence for us, but it is unfortunate that the price of scrap is valuable these days.
“A decent scrap man can collect between four and eight hundred pounds of scrap a day.”
Thieves are also targeting unoccupied properties, with boilers and copper piping being the main focus of the burglaries.
Kash Dagg, from the Sunderland Residents Association, said: “They know when the bin days are, so they just go and help themselves. Some of them are wearing bin jackets so people think they are from the council.
“Some flats have communal bins. But when the bin men came at half seven one morning, the bins were all empty.
“Someone had taken everything from the bins. Everything. It must have been the bin rats.”
Police are encouraging scrap sites to check that those selling scrap have waste carrier licenses.
If you do see anything suspicious, you can ring 101 with a description of the vehicle and ideally a registration plate number.#####