THIEVES attempted to steal high-value titanium metal from the compound at Newton Abbot’s Centrax factory.
The police helicopter was launched after men were disturbed by security guards at the engineering firm’s Shaldon Road compound.
A metal fence had been cut open at sometime between 6.41pm and 7.01pm on Sunday December 29.
Once inside police say the pieces of metal were passed back out to a waiting vehicle.
“They were disturbed by a security guard and ran from the scene,” a police spokesman said.
It is understood that some of the men made off in a car.
A Ford Maverick car was found crashed at nearby Haccombe and two men were arrested.
The police helicopter was alerted at 7.30pm to assist Newton Abbot officers.
A spokesman for the helicopter National Police Air Service reported: “Persons were detained having made off from the scene in a car.”
Today Newton Abbot detectives were due to interview two men in connection with the attempted burglary.
Insp Dave Hammond at Newton Abbot police station appealed for further information: “They have targeted titanium metal with a high value.
"We would be interested in asking Herald Express readers to help us track the owners of a set of Volkswagen car keys which we have retrieved. They key fob has a photograph of a young couple pictured together and we would like to know if anyone knows the owners of the keys.”
Anybody with further information is asked to contact Dc Shane Robertson on the non-emergency 101 number quoting crime reference number JN/13/3653.