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Metal thieves target electricity company

KINGSTON — The Jamaica Public Service Company said there has been an increase in attempts by scrap metal thieves to break into its storage facilities.

The company revealed there has been at least seven attempted break-ins by armed men since recent talks about the reopening of the scrap metal trade began.

It says the most recent attempt was made on its main storage facility in Kingston last night, while there have been similar attempts on its facilities in other parishes.

Head of Security at JPS, Major George Kates says scrap metal thieves pose a constant challenge, and have forced the power company to spend millions of dollars to install comprehensive security systems at all its facilities.

He said thieves are fully aware of the metal composition and value of the wires and other equipment housed at its storage facilities and that some have been severely burnt during attempts to remove the material.

JPS said it was exploring other measures to secure its facilities, but it was concerned that the move would significantly compromise operations, and even result in loss of life.

The export of scrap metal was partially banned last year because of widespread theft.

It is estimated that this practice resulted in losses of more than $1 billion in the last four years.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton has been holding talks with scrap metal dealers over the past week, with a view to re-starting the trade. (Gleaner)

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