POLICE have arrested two men and issued a number of warnings to drivers as part of a crackdown on scrap metal thefts.
Four checkpoints were set-up across the Fylde coast and 33 officers were drafted in to stop drivers police suspected of carrying metal.
Two men were arrested in Fleetwood on suspicion of taking metal from a Blackpool building site and were today being questioned by detectives.
Insp Dave Vickers led the Operation Starling in Fleetwood.
He said: “The operation went very well.
“There have been quite a significant number of drivers stopped and two males have been arrested on suspicion of burglary after stealing metal from a Blackpool building site.”
The checkpoints were set up after police admitted the spate of metal thefts are “plaguing” the Fylde and figures reveal thefts have risen by 400 per cent.
More than £1m worth of metal has been stolen in Lancashire so far this year.
Thefts on the Fylde coast include a seafront sculpture by Sir Peter Blake, on Blackpool Prom, and houses at the resort’s Model Village.
Statues at Stanley Park were ripped out while Fleetwood Magistrates Court, Collegiate High School, Kirkham Baths, St John’s Church, Lytham, and the Salvation Army building in Blackpool have also been attacked.
Det Chief Insp Sue Cawley, who was in charge of Operation Starling in Blackpool, said: “We stopped 80 vehicles and some people have been issued with tickets relating to motoring or scrap metal offences.
“We’ve been looking for over-laden vehicles and checking people’s documents if they are carrying scrap metal.
“We’ve been finding out where the scrap has come from and where it’s going to.”
Checkpoints were set up on Bristol Avenue, Talbot Road and Sandersons Road in Blackpool and Fleetwood Road in Fleetwood.
Det Chief Insp Cawley also said her officers were given key information about the illegal sale of metal in the area.
She added: “We have received quite a few pieces of information about those who are selling scrap metal and we will be pursuing this. We also visited people that have been repeat victims of metal thefts. We gave out crime prevention advice and smart water kits and UV pens so people can mark their property.”