Case Studies

Metal theft guide

by Mark Rowe

Metal theft remains a problem in the United Kingdom and comes at a cost. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) estimate the crime to cost the UK £770m a year. In light of this crime, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has released a metal theft guide to help property owners of varying types tackle this problem.

Metal thieves have a range of targets – rail and communications infrastructure, public utilities, metal piping and lead roofing on churches and schools and even bronze plaques from war memorials. Stealing the metals for their extrinsic value, these opportunists are finding new ways to source valuable materials and sell them on, illegally.

The new guide serves to highlight just what impact this crime is having across the UK and provides a variety of security solutions that could discourage or catch these thieves.

Featuring case studies provided by member companies of the BSIA, such solutions can include physical security equipment, asset and property marking, CCTV, intruder alarm systems and access control. The guide includes a wide range of case studies showing how these solutions have helped protect properties or trace culprits – ranging from protecting vacant properties, to safeguarding drain covers and securing our businesses and homes.

Geoff Knupfer, Chairman of the BSIA’s Asset and Property Marking section, says: “Metal theft is an unacceptable crime with significant consequences and it is important that we respond forcefully and in a timely manner to this serious threat. Marking your property with a forensic coding solution can act as a successful deterrent to thieves, and if your property is stolen, the traceable nature of the solution can help return materials to their rightful owners and provide conclusive evidence in support of criminal prosecution.”

In 2011 the Government acknowledged the severity of this issue, with the Home Office setting up a task force – led by the British Transport Police – with the help of a £5 million boost from the Treasury. However, it is still extremely important that property owners implement their own security measures in order to affect positive change.

“Metal theft can be detrimental to all types of infrastructures and dealing with the repercussions can be costly and time consuming” says David Frampton, Chairman of the BSIA’s Physical Security Equipment section. “Effective security measures, such as physical security, can offer peace of mind to the general public with property owners being safe in the knowledge that their equipment is protected when left unattended.”

Download the BSIA’s free guide here to find out some of the most effective ways to safeguard your property. To find a local BSIA member visit:

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