TROLLEY LOLLY; Gangs cash in on scrap value.
GANGS are targeting supermarket trolleys in a bizarre crime wave sweeping Scotland.
Leading investigator Stewart Turner says that 125,000 are nicked annually - more than 340 each day -as criminals cash in on their scrap metal value.
Turner, who works for recovery firm Trolley wise, said: "About a quarter of all trolleys stolen in Britain are stolen in the Edinburgh and Glasgow areas."
The firm recovers lost and stolen trolleys in the epidemic that costs retailers pounds 20million each year.
A shopping trolley can cost up to pounds 160 to replace but crooks sell them for their scrap value of a few pounds.
Scrapyards then flog the metal on the international market.
Turner said: "Trolley theft is a major problem and has links to organised crime.
"Gangs go around in vans and lift the trolleys. ey then remove the handle showing the store name.
"Those we find are only a minority of those stolen.
"It is very difficult to prove that people or scrapyards are handling stolen trolleys, we are happy just to get them back."
Trolleywise recover around 300,000 of the estimated 500,000 found annually.
They have teams in Kirkcaldy, Paisley and East Kilbride.
Last year they seized 40,637 trolleys worth an estimated pounds 6.4million.
e rm also have 30 similar teams operating across England and Wales.
Other "hot" metal items targeted by the gangs include copper cables, drain covers, railway tracks and aluminium beer kegs.
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Value: Shopping trolley