Metal theft is rife in the UK and is one of the fastest growing crime types internationally
Vacant buildings are obvious and easy targets for metal theft. The metal used to construct buildings and provide their internal infrastructure from electrical cabling to piping and boilers have a high resale value. Cases of metal theft are widespread because reclaimed metals can easily be traded anonymously through scrap metal dealers.
The British Home Office estimate that there were around 100,000 police recorded metal thefts in 2010/11. According to British Transport Police recorded crime data, the levels of copper cable theft have increased rapidly from 2005/06 to 2010/11. In the last financial year (ending March 2013), over 60,000 cases of metal theft were reported to the police in England and Wales. Close to half of those (28,843) were infrastructure related.
The absence of a specific metal theft crime category limits the confidence we can place in estimates on the extent of the problem. Nonetheless, regional, national and international figures suggest large increases in the volume of metal theft over the past decade, largely attributed to steep increases in the price of many metals.
Although quantifying the financial impact of metal theft is difficult the estimated figures remain staggering. A 2011 Home Office estimate put it at £220m. Other estimates put the figure at over £1bn a year. Though the home office figure is a conservative estimate, it remains indicative of a widespread and serious threat to vacant buildings.
The number of cases of metal theft has declined since 2011, and much of this can be attributed to the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act. But legislation may have achieved all it can. Further reductions will be gained by improvements in security and management from councils and property owners. A recent Local Government Association report urges councils to take precautions to reduce the opportunity for thieves. Oaksure can provide the necessary on-site security to prevent metal theft from damaging the value of your building.
Inadequately guarded buildings are extremely vulnerable to metal theft
Copper boilers, electrical cables, piping infrastructure, water tanks, stainless steel and aluminium sinks, radiators, lead roof tiles and any other metals are all at risk when properties are left vacant. Even public art and manhole covers have been stolen in recent years, as documented in the press.
When metal is stolen from vacant buildings there is often significant peripheral damage. When water systems are not isolated, removing piping will cause flooding. Ceilings and walls can be entirely destroyed when cables are forcefully removed.
Such severe damage can cost more to repair to a standard that will meet building regulation than it would cost to rebuild the property entirely. Severe cases of metal theft can bring insurers to class the building as a write-off.
Oaksure Prevents buildings from being targeted by metal thieves
Oaksure Property Protection provide a 24hr deterrent and our guards perform regular patrols of the inside and outside of the site. Each guard is within and around the building at different times of the day and night. There are many eyes on the property and it is clear to the outside world that the building is being watched. Our guards leave no opportunity for thieves to steal the metal.
With our guards on-site in the building, the property will continue to appear as though it is functioning as normal, making it a highly unlikely target for metal theft.
Vacant Property Risks
Find out more about the risks to leaving your property emptyLearn More >
Oaksure can manage almost any vacant buildingLearn More >
Read more about the threats to vacant property in the mediaLearn More >