Eight sentenced for metal theft - Oxford

21/05/2012

Eight men appeared at Oxford Crown Court today, Monday, 21 May 2012, and were sentenced to a total of 14-years and three months for stealing copper cabling worth over £8,000.

All eight men are from Oldbury in the West Midlands. Nita Baicu, aged 21, Mirhai Cirstea, aged 22, Vasile Filisan, aged 24, Nicolae Floricel, aged 26, Stefan Preda, aged 28, Vasile Preda, aged 20, and Marian Tanase, aged 22, all from Vicarage Road, and Florin Constantin, aged 22, from Richmond Hill, pleaded guilty to one count of theft at Oxford Magistrates' Court on 10 April 2012.

Police were called at 1.19am on Sunday, 01 April, by a person remotely monitoring the site at Blackberry Lane, Blackbird Leys, to say he could see suspicious people in the site.

Patrol officers were immediately dispatched, alongside officers from the Dog Section and the Chiltern Air Support Unit (CASU).

A search of the area was carried out and a group of men were seen running down the western side of the site by the Force helicopter. The group split into three and started running towards the rear of Sandford Brake Farm.

The CASU guided all three dog officers, PC Spencer Treherne with Jet, PC David Whenmouth with Zac, and PC Mike Harris with Kai, to the three separate locations where the men were hiding and they were subsequently arrested.

A representative from the National Grid later attended the site and confirmed the men were in the process of stealing cooper cabling. The value of the copper removed was £8,052, however when it was stolen, it was damaged and so was not reusable. As result, the total replacement cost was £16,200. The removal of the earth tape also significantly increased the risks of operating the substation and so measures to control these risks had to be implemented. The response to the incident and these risk control measures resulted in further costs of £2,000.