TWENTY-EIGHT people have been arrested for handling stolen goods after raids on 10 West Yorkshire scrap metal dealers.
Police also seized £100,000 in cash and large amounts of stolen metal in the major operation, which began on Monday.
The raids were the culmination of a lengthy covert operation.
Asst Chf Constable Geoff Dodd said: “Nationally metal theft has become a big issue with thieves going after large scale targets such as the transport infrastructure and small scale items such as plaques marking the passing away of a loved one.
“But the human impact on victims remains the same and our action over the last three days sends out a loud and clear message that West Yorkshire Police will not tolerate metal theft.
“The number of instances of metal theft in West Yorkshire are falling – but there is still a lot of work to be done and this operation sends out a loud and clear message that we mean business.”
Five of the 10 dealers raided were in Kirklees where 16 people have been arrested. Eight of those arrested have already been charged, and the remaining eight have been bailed.
A further 12 people were arrested as a result of five other raids in the county.