Increasing Copper Thefts Halt Railway Traffic in Norway

On Wednesday night, several copper wires were stolen from Porsgrunn Station. Signaling and railway barriers at the site went out of order due to the theft, and a number of trains had to be manually routed to and from the station, writes Norwegian daily VG. 

According to operation manager in Telemark Police, Giske Småge, such thefts are recently very common. – Copper price is so high that there is a good profit in stealing copper wires, notes he. 

Thor Erik Skarpen from Jernbaneverket(Norwegian Railway Agency) says that the problem of copper thefts from railways has appeared in recent years. 

– We’re being robbed of copper for millions of NOK every year, says Skarpen to VG. 

He says that it is particularly common in Østfold, Vestfold and Telemark and the common thefts in these areas create difficulties for railway operations. 

Cooper Theft Turns into a Global Epidemic

A wide assortment of building materials contain copper, including heating and air conditioning units, plumbing, gutters, electrical components, and more. The cost of this metal has increased by almost 400 percent in one year.

Theft of copper pipes, tubing, and wiring has been on the rise in recent years due to the increased value for scrap copper. The US Department of Energy estimates that this once minor problem has exploded into $1 billion a year nightmare. Construction sites, abandoned buildings, and commercial heating and air conditioning units have been the biggest targets for these thieves. More often than not the damage caused obtaining the copper vastly exceeds the value of the copper, but this does not deter the thieves. 

Not only are business stuck having to repair or replace equipment stripped of copper, the damage often results in the loss of electricity, water, and heating or air conditioning resulting in the discontinuing of business until the repairs are completed.

Now, in parallel with the theft, businesses selling a variety of services to catch copper thieves are growing globally. 

An anti-theft system can cost thousands of NOK. The revenues in anti-copper-theft companies doubles every year.

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