THE boss of a Huddersfield scrapyard has been jailed for 14 months after he bought stolen cable in an undercover police “sting”.
Paul Ellis, who was the sole director of Albert Haigh and Son Ltd in Firth Street, was told by Judge Christopher Batty it was an offence motivated entirely by financial gain.
In one initiative, scrapyards were visited and given information and leaflets about what they should not be buying, including BT cable, and then visited again to ensure records were kept properly.
He said as part of the second approach to the problem, undercover officers visited such yards and from April 2012 in the case of Haigh’s, two officers built up trust with Ellis weighing in genuine scrap while representing themselves as BT contractors.
In June they then offered to sell old BT copper cable to the yard rather than taking it to a designated site in Northallerton.
Ellis was shown the cable and told: “It’s been in the ground 20 years, old legacy cable. He agreed to buy it.
That was the first of nine occasions when the undercover officers weighed in such cable, totalling 1.2metric tonnes by the time Ellis was arrested.
They were paid £1,109 although some of that was for genuine scrap.
Ellis, 42, of Henry Street, Brighouse, admitted attempting to handle stolen goods between June and August last year.
He was also told to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs.
John Topham, representing Ellis, urged the judge not to jail him immediately or disqualify him from being a director since either or both would mean “the shutting of his business”.
He said Ellis had worked in the yard since he was 16 when it was run by his father and closure would affect his son and another employee.
Judge Batty said the theft of cable was a significant problem in Yorkshire and courts had to pass deterrent sentences.
He added: “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.”