A JOINT police and military inspection of scrap metal yards in Lautoka recovered an assortment of items reported stolen by companies such as the Fiji Electricity Authority, Water Authority of Fiji, Fiji Sugar Corporation and Telecom Fiji.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said the items were confiscated and stored at the Lautoka Police Station.
He said this was the team's first inspection exercise.
He did not reveal how many businesses were implicated but confirmed that items recovered included cables, electrical wires and galvanised steel pipes.
"During the inspections on Thursday, there were some public infrastructure items found in a number of these businesses," he said.
Cdr Cawaki said it was of concern that businesses were engaged in these illegal practices, fuelling the incidence of scrap metal thefts in the Western Division.
"This thing has gone to a stage where the security of the public is breached.
"Everyday people have been cutting down Telecom cables and also the Fiji Electricity Authority lines, the galvanised road culverts and Fiji Sugar Corporation tram lines including Water Authority of Fiji galvanised and steel pipes. Our main concern is the safety of our people.
"It has gone to a stage where this is a national issue. Apart from the Scrap Metal Decree, we also have evoked some of the provisions of the Public Order Decree because it has affected the safety of our people."
Cdr Cawaki said 10 teams were deployed to inspect scrap metal businesses in the West. He expected more items to be recovered.
"They will be going out to all scrap metal dealers in Lautoka to see they comply with the decree."