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How to combat metal theft

The price of copper, lead and other non-ferrous metals is on the rise and as a result there has been a significant increase in the number of metal thefts across the UK. Whilst many of the news headlines focus on the thefts from churches and utility companies, many homes and businesses are also at risk.

Types of thefts vary from lead, copper and stainless steel roof coverings to metal garden ornaments and iron gates. These attacks not only impact on the insured due to financial replacement of the metal, but can also cause additional damage to stonework as well as water damage when roof coverings are removed or copper piping stolen.

So what can you do to protect your premises?

Firstly you should undertake a risk assessment of your existing security arrangements and consider how they could be improved. We have compiled a list of security measures that you may wish to implement. Remember risk factors will vary for each property and some security measures will be more appropriate than others.

  • Consider increasing perimeter security around your entire premises
  • Keep any gates locked and don't allow unfamiliar vehicles to enter your site or premises
  • Don't be afraid to question contractors working on your premises. Thieves will often wear high-vis jackets – make sure they are who they say they are!
  • Consider installing security lighting or CCTV around vulnerable areas, particularly at roof level where metal roof tiles are present
  • If you do not already have one consider installing an intruder alarm
  • If you already have security lighting, CCTV or alarms make sure that they are working and fit for purpose
  • Remove any easy means of transporting stolen goods, such as wheelbarrows and wheelie bins, to a secure place
  • Don't leave any tools lying around that thieves could use to steal metal. In particular disc cutters and saws should be locked away
  • Do not leave ladders or other equipment lying around that could be used to gain access to roofs
  • Consider restricting access to roofs by installing anti-climb paint to drain pipes and roof guttering
  • Carry out regular checks on roofs to ensure that any theft of roofing materials is discovered quickly to minimise the risk of subsequent damage by rainwater
  • Consider adding security marks to any metal goods
  • Ask your neighboring property owners to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to yourself or the police
  • Consider if you would benefit from the services of contract manned security guards

Published 14th May 2012

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