Residents are urged to be on high alert following a spate of copper cabling theft around the City of Whittlesea.
In what police believe is a highly coordinated operation, thieves are targeting copper that forms part of sports field lighting systems at Council reserves.
They have vandalised and stolen copper cabling from five locations in the past couple of months:
Mayor Lawrie Cox said he was disgusted vandals had impacted on sporting clubs and community facilities.
“These selfish individuals have caused months of disruption to local sporting clubs as well as costing Council tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.
“Sporting clubs should be competing on sports grounds but with no lighting this means many training sessions, games and club functions have had to be cancelled.
“While we do have insurance to cover the cost of repairs, there is still a cost to ratepayers in terms of money, time and effort to have them repaired.”
Council has increased patrols at the recreation reserves but Cr Cox urged residents who lived near or exercised at community reserves to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour.
“Some of these people are posing as workers, including in high visibility uniforms, so it can be hard to tell just who the thieves are,” he said.
“If in doubt, you can contact Council and ask if there is any scheduled work or if it’s after hours, call police to report any suspicious activity.”