Homes, churches, schools, business premises and public buildings can all be targets of metal thefts.
Members of the public who live around or near vulnerable buildings such as churches and schools, should keep a special lookout for suspicious activity and report it immediately. This could involve checking adjacent buildings if you get up in the night, or as you walk your dog, or drive past, or noting and reporting suspicious vehicles.
Owners of vulnerable premises can also take steps to tackle the problem and may consider installing a range of additional crime prevention measures and systems.
Things to consider
- Regularly review the perimeter fences and gate security, making sure to check for holes and weak spots which could allow people access
- Improve visibility by cutting back vegetation, move bins and improve the lighting
- Ensure any equipment or materials stored near a building do not allow access to the roof Use anti-climb paint or physical barriers can be used to prevent access, but all anti-climb devices must be clearly marked to comply with the Occupiers Liability Act 1984
- Remove ladders and other items that could be used to gain access
- Restrict vehicle access to the property. If you have gates, make sure they are locked when leaving the building unattended
- Do not leave any scrap materials lying around which could tempt thieves
- Use a forensic solution to mark any lead and put up warning signs to say that forensic marking has been used. Where a theft has happened, you should consider using lead replacement products – check with your local planning officer to see if this is allowed on your building
- Install CCTV with adequate monitoring and recording. When installing CCTV an operational requirement should be completed. This document is unique to each installation and is used by the contractor or person installing the system to log the design, performance, specification and functionality of the equipment used. Visible warning signs should be displayed as a deterrent to potential offenders
- Make sure external lighting is in good working order
- Encourage staff to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or vehicles to the police
- Encourage people in the local community to keep an eye out around buildings like places of worship and schools, reporting any suspicious activity, particularly the unexpected arrival of builders or workmen
Information from vigilant members of the public is vital if the police are to successfully target those responsible for metal thefts.
These crimes are damaging to society and affecting people's livelihoods. People need to be alert to any suspicious activity and not hesitate to report it to the police.