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Metal theft

Metal theft

Every year tonnes of metal are stolen from homes, businesses, churches, schools and substations. Not only does this type of theft cause disruption to services and inconvenience to those affected but it is also costly to replace or repair any damage.

West Mercia Police target offenders and work to reduce this kind of crime.  There are ways of reducing metal theft in our communities, businesses and public buildings can be protected by:

  • regularly reviewing the perimeter fencing and gates security - check for holes and weak spots, which could allow people access
  • improving visibility by cutting back vegetation, moving bins or improving the lighting
  • ensuring any equipment or materials stored near the building do not allow easy access to the roof
  • anti-climb paint or physical barriers can be used to prevent access, but all anti-climb devices must be clearly signposted to comply with the Occupiers Liability Act 1984
  • not leaving any scrap materials lying around which could tempt thieves
  • using a forensic solution to mark any lead - warning signs saying forensic marking has been used should also be displayed
  • where a theft has happened, you should consider using lead replacement products - check with your local planning officer to see if this is allowed on your building
  • installing CCTV with adequate monitoring and recording
  • an operational requirement should be completed - this document is unique to each CCTV installation and used by the contractor or person setting up the system for the design, performance, specification and functionality of the equipment used
  • visible warning signs should be displayed as a deterrent to potential offenders
  • encouraging staff to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or vehicles to the police
  • encouraging people in the local community to be vigilant around buildings like places of worship and schools - report any suspicious activity, particularly the unexpected arrival of builders

Catalytic converter theft

Thieves have been targeting catalytic converters because of the precious metals they contain.  4 x 4 and high clearance vehicles like vans are particularly vulnerable. Preventative measures that can be taken include:

  • if a catalytic converter is a bolt on type it is possible to have the bolts welded shut
  • fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, these can make it much more difficult for thieves
  • have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done