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Merchants urged to beware metal thieves

Builders merchants and the rest of the construction industry are being warned about the rising tide of metal thefts from merchant yards and construction sites.

A nationwide police operation has been put in place to target the epidemic of metal theft crimes that is sweeping the country. In response, the construction industry is being warned to be extra vigilant when securing their premises to discourage intruders looking for high value “scrap” metal. The high cost of energy and growing demand for metal in countries such as India and China (which has forced steel prices to unprecedented levels) is thought to be the catalyst.

The crime is thought to be costing the economy £360 million every year.

Thieves across the county are targeting construction sites, public buildings, homes and businesses looking for valuable ‘scrap’ metal such as lead and copper from roofs and steel from domestic and commercial gates and fences.

Jacksons Fencing, the steel security fencing and gates specialists, claim construction businesses represent a natural target for this spate of crime.

Richard Jackson, CEO of Jacksons Fencing says: “Since so many construction businesses’ headquarters and commercial building sites boast a metal presence in a multitude of applications they will almost certainly attract the attention of the unscrupulous individuals involved in this growing crime. We are advising all construction businesses to be extra security conscious and to immediately report any suspicious behaviour or sightings to their local police force”.

Police Superintendent Peter Wedlake, of Kent Police backs up the call for vigilance. “Criminals target copper cable, piping or plumbing materials and lead from the roofs of houses, churches and commercial buildings,” he says.

“We are advising that premises with valuable metals undergo a security review and that any necessary adjustments are made. People should remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police”.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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