METAL theft related offences have increased significantly across the United Kingdom, with a large number of thefts from railways, utilities substations, businesses, houses and even road furniture.
The crime has a significant impact on businesses and communities and can potentially lead to serious injuries or fatalities.
The desirability for metal amongst thieves has been fuelled by an increasing price for metal across worldwide markets. With the prices set to continue to rise, police forces, together with a variety of industries, are exploring methods of tackling the problem.
For police in both North and North East Lincolnshire, tackling this issue on a daily basis is a priority with officers working closely with partners such as trading standards as well as local scrap dealers and businesses in order to try and identify those involved and make it harder for them to steal in the first place and subsequently off load the stolen items as scrap.
Operational and Neighbourhood Chief Insp Phil Ward who covers North Lincolnshire said: “Metal theft is a well publicised national problem that has significantly increased over the past two years. Locally the thefts impact on everyone and put lives at risk; theft of gas piping, electricity cabling, drain covers and road signs have dangerous consequences for the offenders and for the general public. Often the thefts cause wider disruption to people’s lives through loss of various services until repairs are complete.”
“Tackling the issue is a priority for us and for our partners. Together we are deploying a number of tactics to target the problem thereby denying criminals an easy ride in North Lincolnshire. This includes working closely with and monitoring scrap metal dealers, taking a zero tolerance approach to those who are committing the thefts and to dealers who do not follow the legislative requirements. This combined approach has led to good arrests and recovery of stolen property.”
“I urge the public to assist us in combating this issue by being vigilant and reporting suspicious activity to the police.”