The Vale of Glamorgan is suffering thefts of metal particularly lead roofing. The information below is specifically for preventing lead roofing thefts but can be useful for preventing other metal thefts.
Scrap metal is becoming more valuable due to an increase in export and demand. Police are treating this crime as a serious issue as it has seen an increase of 150% in the past few years and it's estimated to cost the country £360 million each year.
Thieves target aluminium, copper, steel, bronze and other ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Items most commonly stolen include lead roofing, manhole and drain covers, copper cables, aluminium road signs and metal beer kegs and trolleys. Metal has also been stolen from churchyards and recycling centres.
Who is most likely to be targeted?
While all properties can be targeted for their metal, the Home Office says businesses are more at risk than homes. These are crimes based on opportunity more than planning. Locally in the Vale of Glamorgan, Schools and Churches are frequently targeted and occasionally properties with conservatories that have lead flashing.
Please consider the crime prevention advice in this section to protect your property against metal theft. Some of the security measures below are low-cost options, while others involve using more high-tech solutions at a greater expense. Some security measures will be more appropriate than others for your property.
Action you need to take now
We strongly recommend that you review the security of your property:
1. Remove any easy access onto building roofs, such as water butts, waste bins and tall trees located near to the building. This makes theft more difficult. Remember to get any necessary approval from your local authority for tree cutting before work starts.
2. Store any ladders in a secure place. This is really important when building works that involve scaffolding are taking place.
3. Where possible, keep any gates locked and restrict vehicle access to your property.
4. Make it difficult for thieves to move stolen goods by removing wheelbarrows and wheelie bins. Put these items in a secure place.
5. Maximise surveillance by cutting back tall trees and vegetation which could otherwise provide a screen for intruders to hide behind. Remember to get any necessary approval from your local authority for tree cutting before work starts.
6. Regularly check your roofs so that any theft of roofing materials is found before it rains and water enters the building, causing further damage.
7. Encourage members of your community to keep an eye on the building and to report any suspicious activity to the police
8. Watch out for workmen arriving unexpectedly at a building. Report suspicious activity to the police – dial 101
Actions you can take to improve prevention of metal theft
1. Display a warning notice that asks people to call police on 101 if they see vans or workmen around the building between 6pm and 8am, as they could be stealing the lead roof. Also ask people to dial 999 if they think a theft is in progress.
2. Apply anti-climb paint to drain pipes and roof guttering. This restricts access to roofing. Do not apply the paint below a height of two metres. Display prominent notices which warn people that anti-climb paint is being used. Anti-climb paint can be bought from any security products company or well stocked paint shops.
3. Protect the lower section of lightning conductor ribbons using a metal cage or sheath securely fixed to the building fabric.
4. Consider installing security lighting, particularly at roof level where metal roof coverings are present. Check with your local authority if permission is needed to do this.
5. Consider the use of chemical DNA products such as Selecta mark DNA grease or Smartwater indexing fluid. These, and similar commercially available products are fluorescent and contain a unique chemical "fingerprint" similar to DNA and are identifiable back to a particular batch.
6. Consider fitting alarms and CCTV
The last two suggestions are the more expensive options, speak with your insurance company about possible sponsorship or a reduction in premium if these measures are implemented.
Other actions we recommend
1. Tell your insurance company in advance of any building work that you are doing. Not disclosing this information may affect your insurance cover.
FINALLY...if you are unfortunate and suffer this type of crime, please consider (where possible) replacing the stolen lead with a lead substitute when repairing the damage and erect a sign to say the building does not have lead roofing.
For Further Information, Please Contact:
The Crime Reduction Tactical Advisor on 01446 731627 or email Richard.Collins@South-Wales.Pnn.Police.Co.uk