Task Teams Raid Scrap Metal Yards/Shops for Suspected Stolen Pylon and Copper Wires

On the 11/11/2019, more than 800 police officers conducted eight (8) separate but well coordinated raids on major metal business locations that were dealing in suspected stolen pylons and copper wires from electric utilities. This follows complaints of vandalism and sabotage on the transmission lines of electricity from Karuma to Olwiyo; Karuma to Lira, Karuma to Kawanda and Tororo to Bujagali.

It has been established that criminals climbed up the pylon, past the power cabs to reach the top of the tower, where they would cut the pylons, wires, conductors and tower stabs, which would sometimes lead to the collapse of the pylon. Theft of metals from utilities also occurred at substation transformers, and on underground pipes and cable wires. It is against this background that thefts from electric utilities and other utilities became one of our highest priorities due to the adverse consequences of service disruptions and its economic impact on our communities.

Our intelligence teams picked strong evidence of scrap metal crimes at 117 yards/shops, from Kisenyi business center, Shamba complex, New taxi Park Building, Nakitende, Owino Complex, USAFI Market, Mwanga II, Musajjalumbwa and Muzaana areas. In addition two lone dealers were identified along Mawanda road. These dealers have been facilitating criminals who have been vandalizing pylons along the major transmission lines from Karuma dam. We strongly believe this massive operation will definitely disrupt the supply line for scrap metal thefts and make it impossible for scrap yards to accept stolen metals.

We managed to recover several suspected stolen metals from several dealers that included; underground electric copper wires, underground water pipes, batteries that are Not For Sale a transformer, transformer oil and an assortment of metals scrap and also arrested 30 suspects. The items recovered are clearly marked and we call upon all utility companies to cross check the scrap metal recovered for identification at KMP headquarters.

We are also looking to a wide variety of other counter measures that can be taken by electric and other utilities. These include; target hardening measures of fencing, warnings, lighting, patrolling and illusion detection for deterrence; better wire and equipment protection; wire devaluation to make the sale of potentially stolen scrap metal easier to detect, tightening licensing requirements for scrap dealers, as well as impounding trucks found transporting stolen scrap metal.

Source: Uganda Police Force

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