Metal thefts

For advice on helping to prevent metal theft, use our A-Z of crime prevention here.

Metal theft is one of the fastest rising crimes in the UK. Thieves target:

  • roof lead
  • copper piping
  • inspection covers
  • building and construction equipment
  • commemorative plaques.

Homes, churches, business premises and public buildings are all potential targets.

The following crime prevention tips are recommended to help protect your business from metal theft:

  • Make your premises secure using gates, fencing and locks and don't leave any scrap materials lying around to tempt thieves.
  • Install vandal-resistant ‘dawn to dusk’ sensored security lighting and consider installing CCTV.
  • Guttering, drainpipes and other climbing aids can be coated in anti-climb paint, which marks clothes and skin, often helping police to identify offenders. It should only be applied above 2.4 m from the ground and must be clearly signposted to comply with the Occupiers Liability Act 1984.
  • Consider using alternative materials to lead when making repairs. Coating lead in silver paint devalues the metal and makes it less likely to be stolen.
  • Where it is safe to do so, encourage your staff to challenge anyone they don't recognise on the premises.
  • Consider using a forensic property marking solution, such as SmartWater or SelectaDNA to security mark your property.