Greeks strip country for scrap cash (02/11/2013)Submitted by Cyril on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 19:38
"Greece has been hit by an unprecedented wave of metal thefts as its recession-hit people turn to crime.
Train lines, bridges, cables and even cemeteries have all been targeted for scrap to feed a market driven by China and India.
Police now arrest an average of four metal thieves every day, compared to a few cases every month before the crisis started in late 2009. The profile of the metal thief is also changing, authorities say, from gypsies and immigrants living on the margins of society to mainstream Greeks who have fallen on hard times.
As European countries dip in and out of recession, global demand for metals has remained high due to the industrial rise of emerging powers, making stolen cables and metal used in infrastructure a growth market worldwide. Some 3,635 people have been arrested in Greece for metal theft between the start of 2010 and August 2012, according to the public order ministry. The robberies are becoming both more frequent and more brazen, a sign of the desperate times.