POLICE are hunting a gang of thieves who stole thousands of pounds worth of metal cable weighing a whopping two and a half tonnes during a raid at a Paisley construction firm.
The crooks broke into the GD Chalmers’ base in Neilston Road and loaded almost 400 drums of copper wiring onto a pick-up truck before fleeing the scene.
One of the thieves is believed to have scaled a wall to gain entry to the Chalmers’ yard and then used boltcutters to open the gate so that the rest of the gang could get inside.
After breaking into a storage area, they helped themselves to £15,000 worth of copper which had been destined for use in local housing developments.
Staff at GD Chalmers, which has been in business for around 40 years and provides a range of trades and services, discovered the raid when they turned up for work the next morning.
Company bosses believe the thieves had been watching the yard and spotted the large delivery of copper wiring being made at the start of last week.
David Ritchie, a director at GD Chalmers, said: “It was very professionally done – very well organised.
“We reckon they must have used a small lorry or a pick-up to transport the cables, as the amount taken was around two and a half tonnes in weight.
“We had just had one big delivery of the cabling earlier that day, so that was what was stolen.
“A part of me thinks they had been watching us and knew how much was going to be there.
“Someone has likely hopped over the fence and let the truck in through the front gates, which were bolted.
“They then used boltcutters to get into a storage area where the cabling was kept.
“There must have been a team of guys working on this robbery because the delivery had to be made to us in two loads. It was about 300 to 400 drums of cabling and far too much for a van to carry.”
Mr Ritchie added: “The guys must have been sweating with all the lifting they were doing.
“A lot of the stuff that was taken would have been used for an ongoing housing contract we have.
“I’ve no idea how no-one nearby noticed what was going on. It would all have looked very suspicious at that time of night.”
Mr Ritchie said this is the first time in the company’s 40 years in Paisley that it has been targeted in this way.
And he revealed that security measures at the Neilston Road yard are being stepped up to prevent a repeat raid.
“If these guys are going to be that good at breaking in, then we have to step up security,” said Mr Ritchie. “The police have been round to check for fingerprints and are continuing their investigation.
“As far as the thieves are concerned, I’d imagine their first port of call would be to sell the stolen cabling to electrical companies.
“There would be far less money involved if they were to take it to a scrap merchant.”
A police spokesman has appealed for information about the break-in.
He said: “Sadly, this sort of crime is happening more often, due to the economic climate and the price of scrap metal going through the roof.
“The thieves must have used a vehicle to transport the materials afterwards.
“It is possible that they have already approached scrap metal dealers with this. The amount would be very distinguishable.
“The bottom line is that, if someone turns up at a dealer with this amount of cabling, then questions must be asked.”
Anyone who has information that can help the police with their investigation is asked to call 0141 532 5900.