METAL theft has dropped by 65 per cent in Cambridgeshire in the last year.

There were 810 incidents between April 2012 and March this year, compared to 2,311 during the 12 months before.

Cambridgeshire police say the reason for the drop is an intensive campaign against metal theft with the force working with councils, British Transport Police and BT Openreach.

Officers, as part of Operation Magnet, have been visiting scrap metal dealers and vehicles carrying scrap metal in days of action to make sure they are abiding with new legislation, which outlaws cash transactions at metal recycling yards.

Cambridgeshire police has also employed a dedicated field intelligence officer and officers in each district to gather intelligence in co-ordination with the Central Intelligence Bureau, Tactical Team and Rural Crime Team.

Detective Inspector Sharon Dence, the force's lead on metal theft, said: "The drop in metal theft is excellent news but we will not be complacent and our commitment to tackle theft and ensure dealers take their responsibilities seriously will not diminish.

"Metal theft is not a victimless crime. For example, theft of underground cable can potentially have an impact on thousands of people by knocking out phone lines and internet services.

"We are working with six councils to tighten up registration and enforcement around yards and we are sharing information regionally and nationally in order to prevent and detect crime and recover stolen property."

She added: "We worked with scrap dealers last year to get them to tighten up their checks on who was bringing them metal. We also started routinely taking information on people selling catalytic converters.

"This resulted in thefts being significantly reduced and they have stayed low despite some spikes nationally with lots of our yards deciding to stop taking catalytic converters as it was not worth their while."

INFORMATION: Report any suspicious behaviour to police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.