THE long arm of the law was ready to catch up with scrap metal dealers operating illegally during police stop checks.
Police officers stopped 28 motorists with vans or trailers believed to be filled with scrap metal in Poulton and Fleetwood to check they were operating legitimately.
Visits were also carried out at a number of scrap yards in the Wyre and Blackpool areas.
Three people were found to be trading in scrap metal, one of whom had his vehicle seized as he had previously had his licence revoked.
Insp Geoff Tagg, northern operations inspector for Lancashire Police, said the stop-check was part of an on-going operation to stamp out bogus scrap metal dealers.
He said: “Scrap metal theft continues to be a problem that affects the whole county and victims inevitably have to bear the brunt of replacing stolen materials and fixing damage caused by thieves.
“We are continuing to check scrap yards are working within the legal parameters and buying from people who have legitimate access to scrap metal.
“We are also targeting those who steal the materials and cause misery to residents across the county.”
He will appear before Blackpool Magistrates Court on October 5.
The Fylde coast has been plagued by metal thieves in recent years, with the crime blighting schools, churches, homes and monuments.
Police in Lancashire launched a campaign on metal thefts after the number of offences rose to 655 in May 2011. The figure then dropped to 395 in May 2012, a reduction of 42 per cent.
In July, scrap dealers were raided as part of a police operation which saw 15 arrests made in Lancashire and 10 vehicles seized.
More than 82 scrap dealers were visited across the county, during which half a tonne of copper piping and overhead cable, worth £15,000, was seized and £6,000 worth of other suspected stolen goods were confiscated.
Anyone with information about scrap metal theft is asked to contact police on 101.