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Metal theft

Stolen metal is often sold to scrap dealers and exported to other countries, where it can be traded at higher prices.

The metals thieves target the most are:
  • copper from substations, street lights and building sites
  • lead roofing and flashing from homes, schools and churches
  • signals and cables from railway lines
  • catalytic converters from vehicles
  • manhole covers
The law now requires scrap metal dealers to take the personal details of anyone giving them metal. Anyone found giving false information can be arrested, taken to court and fined. 

Protect yourself from metal theft

  • Move water butts, bins and furniture so they can’t be used to access roofs and porches. 
  • Store ladders and tools securely.
  • Make it easy to see around your property by keeping hedges and trees pruned. 
  • Check your roof regularly – spotting a theft early will give you more opportunity to fix the problem before it rains and any further damage is caused to your property.
  • Consider installing security lighting and CCTV around your property.
To deter thieves from targeting lead in particular, you can:
  • coat it in anti-climb paint or a forensic marking solution, which marks clothes and skin - please note: anti-climb paint must only be used above 2.4 m from the ground and clearly signposted to comply with the Occupiers Liability Act 1984
  • coat in silver paint, which devalues it and makes it less likely to be stolen 
  • buy coloured lead so the flashing blends in with the rest of the building and is harder to spot.

Catalytic converters

Most petrol vehicles have catalytic converters which thieves target as they can contain precious metals.

To help reduce the risk of yours being targeted:
  • keep your vehicle in a garage, or park in busy well-lit areas or fit a clamp or security cage around it 
  • security-mark and register the metal shell of the converter so if it stolen and recovered, we can trace it back to your vehicle
Remember to look out for people working under cars who are acting suspiciously. 
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