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Metal thefts affecting Bradford’s electricity network have more than halved since new legislation was introduced as Northern Powergrid revealed that damage caused by vandals across the district cost it £100,000 in 2012.

That is additional to the estimated £250,000 that metal theft costs Bradford Council each year.

On December 3 last year, legislation was introduced, meaning scrap metal dealers could not pay cash for metal in a bid to deter thieves from stealing the scrap to sell on.

That, combined with the introduction of a Metal Theft Taskforce, as part of the British Transport Police, means that metal thefts appear to be dropping.

The Energy Networks Association, which represents the transmission and distribution operators, said that there has been a 30 per cent drop following the cash transaction ban.

Northern Powergrid revealed that 96 electrical theft incidents occurred across West Yorkshire from December 3 to February 1, compared to 207 incidents for the same period the year before. Only three of those were in Bradford in 2012/13, in Liversedge, Cleckheaton and Lidget Green, while there were seven out of the 207 across the district the year before.

For the whole of 2012, 45 incidents were recorded across the whole district, costing £100,000 because of replacing the stolen metal and to increase security at the site and substations targeted.

Councillor Val Slater, the executive member for the environment, said that there did appear to be a decrease, but she cautioned that it was too soon to see if it could be attributed to the new legislation.

“Metal theft and heritage crime are issues that we take seriously as a Council and we have been working actively with partners in a number of ways to address the issues,” she added.

Inspector Andy Gallant, who is leading the Metal Theft Taskforce in the Bradford South division, said: “If you have any information about the theft of metal or its illegal sale, you can contact us on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”