VIDEO – Metals worth gold: recycling centers increasingly targeted

VIDEO – Metals worth gold: recycling centers increasingly targeted
VIDEO – Metals worth gold: recycling centers increasingly targeted

Metal theft from recycling centers has exploded in recent months.

They are increasingly popular with the surge in prices on the international market.

Sometimes, thugs attack officers directly, like last weekend in Gironde.

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The 8 p.m.

With prices soaring on the international market, metal thefts are exploding almost everywhere in France, sometimes accompanied by violence. Last weekend, an agent at the Beguey recycling center (Gironde) was the victim of an attempted attack. While leaving the site, the employee was chased by individuals who were traveling in two vans. The thugs, armed with iron bars, forced him to stop. The agent finally managed to escape from this ambush at the last minute. Still in shock and fearing reprisals, it was the site manager who testified in her place.

We can sometimes have a few small altercations, a little pressure. But it had never gotten to this point“, deplores Élodie Bittard, general director of services at the household waste collection union Semoctom, in the video which accompanies this article. The manager says she has noticed an increase in violence, particularly since security has been reinforced on the site. “This is not tolerable. We cannot accept that individuals who come to steal metals from public recycling centers make the law their own.“, supports Élodie Bittard at the microphone of TF1.

If we let it happen, they could resell up to 140 tonnes of scrap metal each year. That represents between 140,000 and 150,000 euros.

Élodie Bittard, general director of services at the household waste collection union Semoctom

What interests the thugs is the iron found inside a dumpster. Every evening, individuals enter the site to empty it. And this has been going on for months. To prevent these thefts, the dumpster is emptied every day. The recycling center resells the metals, which helps finance its operation, putting less money in the pockets of the traffickers. “If we let it happen, they could resell up to 140 tonnes of scrap metal each year. That represents between 140,000 and 150,000 euros. This is 15 to 20% less budget that we must recover from taxpayers“, annoys the director, in the video.

We do our job and we don’t even know if we’re going to return home whole

A recycling center agent, victim of an attack in Charente

CCTV cameras, two-meter high surrounding walls, padlocks supposed to be inviolable, nothing seems to be able to stop these thugs. “The goal is to get in and out of the recycling center in 10-15 minutes to avoid being caught in the act“, notes Frédéric Carlet, communications manager and technical director at Semoctom. The number of intrusions has quadrupled since the start of the year.”We end up being visited by intruders every evening and several times at each of the recycling centers.“,

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Metal theft affects all recycling centers in France. An agent was violently attacked for a look deemed too insistent, a few months ago in Charente. “I protected myself as best I could, because they tried to hit my head and then my body“, says the young man in the report. He denounces a feeling of impunity. “We’re doing our job and we don’t even know if we’re going to return home whole“, deplores the agent, who received eight days of ITT. Like him, few agents decide to file a complaint for fear of encountering the attacker again in their workplace.


MD | Report: Yaël Chambon and Eudeline Boishult

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