Scrapyard a mine for thieves

2015-07-07 06:00
The vacant scrapyard in 8th Avenue has been stripped of all heavy metals and steel. The owner of the property intends to convert the land into a parking area. 

PHOTO: 
astrid februarie

The vacant scrapyard in 8th Avenue has been stripped of all heavy metals and steel. The owner of the property intends to convert the land into a parking area. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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A vacant scrapyard in 8th Avenue, Retreat has been stripped of almost all its heavy metal and steel and is a cause for concern for the local ward councillor.

The building has almost completely been stripped. Broken bottles, plastic pipes and loose bricks are all that remain of the former Foentjies Scrap Yard.

According to ward councillor Kevin Southgate, the building, including everything and anything that could be sold, has been stripped “by the informal business entrepreneurs, including gangsters”.

“They are now targeting three underground storage tanks that a nearby scrap dealer alleges contains oil and, should these criminals – who have already begun excavating around these tanks – succeed in removing it, the possibility exists that oil can be spilled and hence present an environmental risk,” Southgate says.

He further says the “thieves have no thought” for the potential risk as their only interest is in getting to the tanks “which they will chop up for resale”.

The scrapyard was recently sold and bought by the owner of the Shoprite complex in Retreat Road. Rafiek Dawood was given occupation of the property about three months ago and says he is aware of the vandalism and theft of building materials which includes steel and iron.

“I was only recently made aware of what is going on at the premises and immediately secured the property, but after they (the security guards) were threatened I had to remove them.”

Dawood says while the security guards were on the premises a group of men in a bakkie threatened them repeatedly.

“The men who were threatening the security guards would show up to the scrapyard in a bakkie. The driver would then drop off a couple of men with power tools and a generator and they would proceed to cut up the steel and metal on the property,” he says.

Dawood says they have reported the incidents to the police and provided them with a description of the bakkie and its registration number.

“At the moment, we have no security present on the property, but in the next month or two we will start with our plans to convert the land into a parking area,” he says.

He further says that he has no knowledge of any underground tanks.

Southgate says the lack of security and deterioration of this property have attracted many criminal elements into the area and have resulted in surrounding businesses being burgled. “Water pipes have been ripped up, resulting in thousands of litres of water having been lost before the council could undertake repairs,” he says.

Southgate says should the situation be left unattended he is afraid more damages could be sustained

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