Metal theft is on the rise. With more than 1,000 cases recorded a week, costing Britain in excess of £1bn a year, this is a very real concern to the taxpayer and business owner alike. Here, we give you the information on this criminal epidemic and how to prevent it from affecting your vacated property.
Metal theft is the unlawful removal of metals for the value of their constituent raw materials. The metals that people are interested in getting to, other than precious metals, are usually non-ferrous metals. These consist of metals such as bronze, brass, copper and aluminium. People also look for cast iron and steel as they can be sold for scrap. This article from the Guardian states that 47% of these metal thefts are infrastructure based. Metal theft is a major problem in the UK and worldwide and one of largest targets is.
What are the most common targets of metal theft?
The stories of what has been stolen and for what purposes go from the absurd to the sublime. A Henry Moore Sculpture worth £500,000 was stolen from an open air sculpture park and sold for scrap at around £46. Church bells, manhole covers and copper wiring from railway lines have all been targeted items for metal thieves.
Buildings that seem potentially empty are often monitored by thieves. If they are seen to be unoccupied and inadequately secured then they are likely to be targeted. Thieves will break in and steal everything from wiring to piping to copper boilers.
Not only is the theft itself a major problem but the damage caused by the theft is also vast. Entire walls and ceilings can be destroyed from the attempted removal of wires. Serious flooding can occur if pipes are stolen. This kind of damage can cost such a substantial amount to repair, it could cost more than it would to rebuild the building altogether.
How to prevent metal theft in an empty building
There are several ways to attempt to deter metal thieves. One of which would be to board up your building or use metal screens. This however could cause more problems than it fixes. Putting up screens or boards could tell prospective thieves a building is empty and therefore potentially encourage more theft or damage than it discourages.
The metal screens themselves can cause harm to the building and, unfortunately, the internet is rife with tutorials on how to remove such metal screens. Thus, they are a fairly insubstantial deterrent and can cost a grand sum if your property is large.
An alternative to this is employing security personnel to patrol an empty building. This can end up being incredibly expensive if you want 24/7 guarding.
Oaksure Property Protection have a much cheaper and more effective alternative. This entails us putting live-in guards at the property. We protect a property by occupation, the most effective means of preventing unlawful occupation and potential criminal activity. They get to know the building, inside and out, as well as the neighbourhood, in order to provide top security.
Our service costs substantially less than it would to hire a 24/7 security guard service. Our live-in guards are SIA qualified and we can have somebody in your property in 24 hours.
Our guards also keep up your maintenance standards and serve as monitors to anything awry inside the building as well as dangers that may lie outside it. If you have a property currently unoccupied please consider the dangers of metal theft because it could cost the worth of your building to remedy such a crime.