Builders merchant group Travis Perkins, owner of the Wickes DIY chain, has joined forces with B&Q and Homebase in an attempt to reduce theft from their stores and yards.
The DIY and Building Trade Loss Prevention Forum has been formed to prevent crimes committed against businesses. The idea is that members can share information and best practice ideas and data to help reduce thefts.
The fact that global prices for copper are reaching record levels is one factor behind the increase in thefts, with the price of copper is expected to reach £7,000 a ton by the end of 2011.
Among the tactics used by thieves are hiding copper tubing inside plastic drain pipes and drive-aways – where thieves simply load up their flat-bed lorries and drive off without paying.
Jim McKenna, Head of Group Security at Travis Perkins and chair of the forum, says: “We have come together to fight criminal practices and share intelligence from our businesses.
“The building trade works a lot on generous credit terms with small to medium-sized businesses and some of the procedures have, in some instances, been subject to abuse over the years and require attention.
“This is not necessarily theft, but simply bad practice that has developed unchecked. Putting this right requires a behaviour change and winning over the hearts and minds in our sector which is what collaboration as a sector is all about.”
The new forum is managed by ex-DIY sector employee Anne Davies, who now works for loss prevention specialists Oris.