Stolen Solar Panels Retrieved From Houseboat

Environment Agency blind without them

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An operation by the MPS Marine Policing Unit has led to the recovery of what we believe to be five stolen solar panels and the arrest of a man at a houseboat moored on the River Thames in Brentford, Hounslow.

Officers from the MPU, supported by colleagues from Brentford Safer Neighbourhoods Team and the Environment Agency, carried out a rapid entry onto the houseboat at approx 09.00 hrs yesterday (29.7.09). In addition to the panels, worth an estimated £1000 each, police also recovered a unique waterproof generator box, which is specially designed to allow the panels to be used within the marine environment.

A 45 year old man was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

The intelligence led operation was launched after the Environment Agency contacted police about the panels, which we believe had been stolen from a barge in February and March 2009.

Inspector Chris Connelly from the Marine Policing Unit said:
"Officers within the Marine Policing Unit are specially trained to carry out entries and searches of houseboats of this kind. We will continue to work with all our partners to tackle crime on the Thames. Criminals are very mistaken if they believe they can use the cover of London's waterways to commit offences."

Matt Loewenthal, Senior Environment Monitoring Officer for the Environment Agency said:
"The solar panels that were stolen are absolutely vital to our work as they are our only source of power out on the River Thames. We lost thousands of pounds of equipment, but even more important than the financial loss is the data that was lost and we can't get back. The equipment that was stolen power our water quality monitoring equipment which provide us with crucial information about the health of the river. These systems are our eyes and ears, without them we cannot manage and protect one of the countries most iconic rivers."

July 31, 2009

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