Citing an anonymous police source, the daily newspaper said the ring stole metal from wind farms in sparsely populated areas, where they had less chance of being caught.
“They cut the power to turn off the engine propeller motor,” the officer said, noting the thieves broke through the doors at the bottom of the turbines, before using the stairs to reach the engine which is located at the top – often as high as 40 metres off the ground. “By using bolt cutters and makeshift tools they then cut and ripped out the whole metal wiring, which is mostly made of copper,” he said.
The officer said a metal raid of a single wind turbine engine could amount to as much as one tonne of loot. One tonne of copper is estimated to be worth around 4,500 euros on the market.
According to Le Figaro, at least 20 such incidents have been recorded recently. Two successful raids and one foiled attempt were reported in March alone.