Police look into France copper thefts

French police are investigating a network of criminals which have targeted some 20 wind turbines in France in an escalating series of copper thefts.

Citing police sources, French daily newspaper Le Figaro says the criminal gang have stolen metal from wind farms in sparsely populated areas.

The thieves broke through the doors at the bottom of the turbines, before using the stairs to reach the engine located at the top of the turbine, often up to 40 metres off the ground.

“They cut the power to the engine propeller motor,” the police are quoted as saying.

The officer says a metal raid on a single turbine could result in up to a tonne of metal, currently worth around €4,500, being stolen.

The number of metal raids in France is reported to have risen by almost 18% between 2012 and 2013. Turbine operators have tightened security at wind farms in response to the growing threat.