POLICE are linking three metal thefts that have caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage at firms in Portsmouth and Havant.
Hampshire Constabulary believes the same criminals were involved in the thefts.
On February 27 Pfizer Global Supply, a pharmaceutical firm in New Lane, Havant, reported the theft of hundreds of metres of electrical feeder cables from one of its warehouses.
The damage was estimated between £20,000 and £50,000.
Then between February 28 and March 3, copper cables and elements were stolen from a SSE substation in Fitzherbert Road, Farlington.
The total value of the metal stolen was estimated at £10,000.
The latest incident occurred at ENL Ltd, a firm makes plastic mouldings in Kilne Road, Copnor.
On March 1 or March 2 thieves broke in and removed heavy-duty copper electric power cables from the industrial unit.
The cost of repairs are not known, but the business faces significant financial impact as the theft of the cabling means that machinery cannot be run.
PC Tony Langton, from Portsmouth CID, said: ‘We are pursuing several lines of enquiry in order to find these men and prosecute them.
‘For the businesses it is not just about the cost of replacing and repairing the damage these criminals have caused, but the impact this is having on trying to keep their day to day production going.’
The incidents are the latest in a long line of metal thefts across the Portsmouth area over the last few years, with criminals willing to take anything that will give a handsome reward on the black market.
Two years ago disabled Aston Muff, from Wymering and then just five years old, had his metal walking frame stolen for scrap.
Memorial plates were also stolen from Kingston Cemetery, in Fratton.
The authorities are fighting back, however, with the introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act last October.
New laws make it illegal for cash to be paid out for any scrap metal transaction. Police are asking dealers to contact them if any cables are offered for sale.
PC Langton added: ‘If anyone has any information, particularly if you are in the business of scrap metal dealing and have been offered any scrap metal from suspicious persons call 101.’