THREE MEN charged with stealing metal in Hailsham after police officers stopped a transit van travelling along a busy road will be appearing before magistrates this week.
The men were arrested late at night on the A22 at Golden Cross.
All three are due to appear before Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
When searched by police the van contained large metal beams and metal digger buckets allegedly taken from the premises of businesses in Hackhurst Lane in Hailsham.
Police believe the goods would have been eventually sold as scrap metal.
Chief Inspector Richard Coates, the Wealden Police Commander, said the arrests followed a county wide operation to crackdown on scrap metal thefts.
He said: “Any vehicle with scrap metal out and about at the minute will be stopped.
“The legitimate scrap dealers will not mind because we are protecting their trade and also targeting the thieves.”
The transit van and contents were seized by police following the arrests on November 10.
Three men from Kent have been charged two counts of theft.
The theft of scrap metal is becoming a major cause of concern for Hailsham police - as well as nationwide where it is believed to cost the UK economy £770m a year.
Recently the Local Government Association called for tougher regulations to be imposed on the scrap metal trade to combat soaring theft, including plaques from war memorials.
In Sussex, Chief Insp Richard Coates said his offiercs were dealing with reports of stolen scrap metal on most days.
At the time, he said: “It’s not a very issue but that is what hits my daily brief more times than I would like.”
A special police team has been formed to look into the issue and track down any thieves planning to pounce on metal objects in the town and surrounding areas.
Metal can be taken from all sorts of structures including benches and porches, when targeted by thieves. Telecommunicatons cable has been recovered by British Telecom from some scrap yards.