Sussex Police are warning that metal theft is a growing problem with railways, utilities substations, businesses, houses and even manhole covers being targeted by criminals. There were over 100 reports of metal theft last year on West Sussex Division alone.
The thefts have been fuelled by spiraling metal prices on the world markets. Police forces are exploring new methods of tackling the problem together with colleagues other industries. Some may think that it is a victimless crime but it has far-ranging ripple effects to infrastructure and people’s lives – whether it is a delayed train or no electricity for hours at a time.
Sussex Police are committed to tackling metal thefts. Officers carry out action days and have good relationships with BT, the British Transport Police and community groups.
Consider this crime prevention advice to protect your property against metal theft:
- Remove any easy access on to building roofs, such as water butts and waste bins located near to the building.
- Cut back tall trees which could provide a screen for intruders to hide behind, or help them clamber into your property. Remember to get any necessary approval from your local authority for tree cutting before work starts.
- Where possible, keep any gates locked and restrict vehicle access to the site.
- Make it difficult for thieves to move stolen goods by putting wheelbarrows and wheelie bins in a secure place.
- Regularly check your roofs so that any theft of roofing materials is found before it rains and water enters the building, causing further damage.
- Watch out for workmen arriving unexpectedly at a building.
There is more advice at www.sussex.police.uk
Anyone with information about people involved in metal theft or dealing in stolen metal is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 or call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you see a crime in progress, call 999.