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Guilty verdicts on brothers who stole £150k cabling from live pylons

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 02, 2013

An electricity pylon

TWO brothers have been found guilty of taking part in the theft of £150,000 of metal cable from live pylons with 33,000 volts running through them.

Vijay and Umur Chohan both denied being part of a seven-strong gang, which took the copper cable from six towers in Fromebridge near Whitminster.

But the pair were convicted of the dangerous theft, which took place between September 16 and 17, 2010, after a trial.

Gloucester Crown Court heard the pair from Cardiff denied conspiring to steal the 7km of metal owned by Western Power Distribution.

Prosecutor Mark Worsley told the court the theft cost the power company £150,000 in metal and damage done.

And the remaining overhead line was left hanging dangerously from the tower.

Five men from South Wales pleaded guilty to the charge at an earlier hearing, but Vijay, 24, and Umur, 26, both from Grand Avenue in Cardiff denied it.

During the trial, Mr Worsley said: "Around 7km was stolen and it is believed it was disposed of in the Cardiff area.

"The theft needed a determined and professional approach, not only did they need to get over barbed wire, cut through lines with 33,000 volts, but they needed to transport and distribute the cables. It is the prosecution's case that the Chohan brothers, who used their experience in scrap metal dealings, were responsible for that."

Mr Worsley told the court police had stopped some of the men in the Frampton-on-Severn area the night of the theft.

He said phone calls between those members of the gang and the brothers proved they knew each other, but also that the men were in Gloucestershire that night.

He added: "The prosecution say the cable is taken away from Gloucestershire and in South Wales. You can't leave cables like this lying around and there is constant contact between the conspirators in the days after the theft."

He told the jury Umur previously ran ABM Salvage and Recycling in Cardiff and had the space to store the copper and expertise to cut it up.

Umur, who spent a month in Sri Lanka helping to rebuild the country after the Boxing Day tsunami, initially told police he kept no records of what had come into the yard until police visited him in 2011 and said it was required.

He also claimed he could have lost his phone at the time as he had split up with his girlfriend and was drinking a lot.

Liam Murphy, 24, of Penarth, South Glamorgan; Paul Condick, 30, of Llandow Road in Cardiff; Nathan James, 35, of Heol Trelai, Ely, Cardiff; Stephen Phillips, 52, of Addicott Close in Cardiff and Martyn Richards, 26, of Heol Poyston, Ely, Cardiff pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal prior to the trial. The men will all be sentenced by the same court at a later date.

The brothers were released on bail.

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