DNA new ‘protection’ against copper thieves

A new method for reducing thefts of copper from Swedish railways is being tested, as twenty kilometres of rails in southern Sweden have been marked with smart DNA, making it possible to trace both the stolen copper and the thief.

DNA new 'protection' against copper thieves

This new way of reducing the increasingly common copper thefts is currently being tried out by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and has seen previous success, reported newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

“We’re going to try this method which has been very successful in other countries. It has also been tried out in stores in Stockholm with good results,” Sten Vickberg, head of security and maintenance at the Transport Administration told DN.

A substance is smeared onto the rails, marked with traceable ID materials, which make finding the copper possible.

The markings can only be found by light of a UV lamp, which all Swedish police are now being equipped with, reported DN.

The Transport Administration is also considering replacing the copper so hotly desired by robbers with aluminium.

Problems with copper thefts have long plagued the Swedish railway, with costs of up to 120 million kronor ($16.5 million) every year just for material losses. Even more expensive for society are the huge delays caused by the copper thefts.

The railway isn’t alone in being struck by copper thieves. Many Swedish churches have also been stripped of their venerable copper details, or even their entire copper roof.

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Man charged with forcing 11 people from India into labour in Sweden

The trial of a man who allegedly lured 11 people from India to Sweden on the false promise of work, only to exploit them and force them into labour, is under way.

Man charged with forcing 11 people from India into labour in Sweden

The man is accused of having promised 10 men and one woman from Punjab that he would get them full-time jobs with a monthly salary of around 23,000 kronor in Sweden, if they first paid him 200,000-230,000 kronor, according to charges seen by The Local.

He told them that the fee would cover the cost of work permits and other documents and permits, even though the actual cost was only a fraction of the total sum he demanded.

Once they arrived in Sweden, however, there were no full-time jobs for them. Instead they were allegedly forced to work for the man under poor conditions.

They were completely at his mercy. He controlled where they worked, for whom and to what extent. They risked not having accommodation if they refused. They were dependent on his good will to keep their work and residence permits,” the prosecutor, Anneli Tirud Wallin, told Swedish news agency TT.

According to the charge sheet the plaintiffs were trafficked to Sweden and Portugal and forced to work in the forestry, construction and restaurant industries.

Peter Ataseven, a lawyer representing the 11 plaintiffs, told TT they had paid the man with money they did not have, believing that they would earn it back in Sweden.

They took out loans, liquidated business opportunities, had to sell land and pawn [their possessions], all just to come to Sweden,” said Ataseven.

The accused is also from Punjab but has been a Swedish citizen for years and lives in Södertälje, where most of the forced labour is said to have taken place. He denies the charges.

The trial is set to take place over 20 days between May 23rd and July 4th.