The State Government will move to regulate copper, similar to other metals like gold and silver, to tackle the growing problem of copper theft in Western Australia.
Police Minister Michelle Roberts made the announcement today as an important first step, while the Government investigated more comprehensive legislative reforms.
Unlike gold and silver, there is currently no requirement to record transactional information about the sale of copper, making it an attractive metal for criminals to steal and quickly make a profit from.
The problem has escalated in recent times, with thieves stripping copper wiring from homes and industrial sites, even targeting memorial plaques and sculptures to make a quick dollar.
Of increasing concern, Western Power reports significant theft of copper from around its live electricity network, leaving power poles and other infrastructure in a potentially unsafe state.
Under the Government’s proposed amendments, sellers of copper will be required to produce identification and licenced dealers in copper will be required to record all transactions and report details to police.
The WA Police Force is running proactive operations to target those involved in copper theft.
As stated by Police Minister Michelle Roberts:
“The cost of the mess and significant damage being left by copper thieves exceeds the value of the copper stolen.
“It doesn’t matter if its wiring, piping, brackets, even memorial plaques, it seems these thieves will steal anything to make a quick buck.
“It’s effectively both vandalism and theft.
“The Government is taking decisive action to make it harder for these thieves to profit from their criminal acts.
“The Government is putting copper thieves on notice, we will catch you.”