Agricultural machinery is planted in a field of Saint-Trivier-de-short, in the Ain. Three men are busy. They the disassemble, the butcher to retrieve a valuable well now: metal. "The farmer them surprised", tells Dorothy cloister of Saint-Trivier mounted police lieutenant. The attempted robbery occurred Friday morning last. "He asked them what they were doing", she adds, but individuals have persisted in their work until the owner of the spacecraft decides to go to the police. Officers stop the three suspected persons hand in the tractor.
Today, flights of metals are also farmers of Saint-Trivier-de-short, a town of 1,000 inhabitants with a dozen farms. Stimulated by the progression of the price of base metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME), place of reference in the field, flight progress. In a year, the number of procedures increased by half, according to figures from the Office central traveling control (OCLDI), responsible for this type of offences. In the first half, the gendarmes of the specialized agency recorded 2.182 procedures related to metals, against 1492 flights a year earlier.
The escalation of prices of the non-ferrous is the main cause of the increasing number of flights, said colonel Philippe Schneider, head of the OCLDI, even if the quantities of stolen metal remain difficult to determine. Each procedure includes an assessment of the amount stolen but there is no order of magnitude for all flights.
Products "in bulk".
Among the stolen metals, copper is however at the top. It is indeed not less than 60 of the flights of the first half, said the colonel. The target metal is often the same. The methods, different, ranging from simple theft to... extraction.
The beginning of August, near Nancy, the travellers are surprised burning electrical cables to recover the copper. End of July, a catenary disappears on a road to SNCF to Caudry (North). The examples are numerous, sometimes dramatic, as the theft of a ton and a half of copper in the centre of Saint-Gobain research, beginning of August also. Citing the date of appearance of the three accused of Saint-Trivier, set at November 24, colonel Schneider deplored the lack of interest from the courts for this type of business. "Often, they the judges simply a reminder to the order of the type:"Is not to steal, Mr".".
Based his comment on the example of a coil of 25 tonnes of copper sold "to the ass of the truck", the OCLDI evaluates the price per tonne of metal smics euros black market two times less than the price of Exchange on the LME, either 7.890 dollars (6.126,55 euros) at the end of Tuesday. With an increase of 66,56 in the first half of the year, copper is one of the three most expensive metals of the market.
Non-ferrous metals such as copper, nickel or aluminium are vital to the construction of a series of materials used in the building or electrical networks. These sectors recording a strong development in the India and China emerging as countries who derive the application today.
But before the metal reached these countries, it must pass through recycling, indicates the OCLDI. "We routinely note the quantity of metals that bring individuals", says Arnaud Mestre of Bartin Recycling Group, a recycling company employing about 400 people, with a turnover of 163 million in 2005. "We do not accept products in full as the pipes in perfect condition," he added, while acknowledging the difficulty for the company, which has 29 sites in France, to ensure the origin of "products in bulk" made by all of its suppliers.
"All thieves we stopped sold their metal recycling companies", provides the colonel Schneider, adding that better control of the accounts of companies nonetheless helped to mitigate the increase in flights since June. But the attractiveness of metals is not denied. To the extent that recycling sites are concerned about the media coverage of the phenomenon. Bartin Recycling Group which increased security on its sites, said Arnaud Mestre without further precision.