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Scrapyard boss jailed in BT copper sting

A Huddersfield man has been jailed for 14 months following a sting operation by West Yorkshire police.

Paul Ellis, 42, bought what he thought was stolen copper cable from police working undercover. Two officers posing as BT contractors visited Ellis, sole director of Albert Haigh and Son scrapyard in Huddersfield, looking to offload the copper cable.

According to a report by the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Ellis was shown the cable and told: “It’s been in the ground 20 years, old legacy cable. He decided to buy it.

In total, the officers visited the scrapyard nine times and managed to sell to Ellis 1.2 tonnes of copper. The officers were paid £1,109.

Ellis admitted attempting to handle stolen goods between June and August last year. He will also have to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs.

The sting was part of a two-pronged attack by West Yorkshire Police to cut down the amount of theft of copper cable. Another initiative has seen officers visiting scrapyards in the area and given out leaflets detailing what they shouldn’t be buying, including BT’s copper cable.

Judge Christopher Batty said that cable theft was a significant problem in the county and courts had to pass harsh sentences to deter further thefts.

“People like you who buy these cables subject to the theft are providing a market – without you, and people like you, there would not be these thefts,” said Judge Batty.

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