Theft of metal is now one of the fastest rising crimes, with costs to the UK economy estimated at £770m each year.
Heavily influenced by commodity prices and the growing economies of both developing and developed countries, it affects communities, industry and commerce and poses a real and significant threat to public safety and critical national infrastructure. It is an international problem and whilst metal prices remain high and global demand continues to rise, this crime is big business and an issue that will not disappear on its own.
“The summer holiday season will see many buildings, particularly schools and offices, left vulnerable to both the organized and opportunistic thief. Thieves are not invisible unless we choose to ignore them,” commented Simon Hayes, Chairman of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Crimestoppers.
“Metal theft is the hot topic today,” he continued. “We read about incidents in the papers and many of us may well have felt the impact of metal theft on our day to day lives: train cancellations from cable and track theft, loss of phone and internet connection, school closures. However, awareness of metal theft is only part of the battle. In order to stop criminals continuing to disrupt our lives we all need to be proactive, vigilant and to report our suspicions quickly. To this end Crimestoppers offers the public a safe and anonymous way to stop the thieves by contacting us on 0800 555 111 or using our secure, online form direct from a mobile phone at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. But we can only be effective if you make that call.”
Last week Police Forces in the South East introduced a new scheme named Operation Tornado. This will make it easier to trace any person who sells metal to Scrap Metal Merchants and will help to remove and prosecute dealers of stolen metal.
Crimestoppers will be working throughout the year to further enhance and support this initiative.
Inspector Jackie Willson, the Hampshire Police lead for Metal Theft remarked: “As a Force we are committed to reducing metal theft in Hampshire and Isle of Wight. Operation Tornado aims to target unscrupulous dealers rather than inhibit legitimate businesses. However we still need intelligence from the public to tackle this crime from all angles and the Crimestoppers anonymous service provides a valuable tool to enable communities to provide information safely and free from fear.”
To pass on information about metal theft or any crime anonymously, Crimestoppers can be contacted online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org through the new mobile site or computer, or by calling the 24/7 anonymous 0800 555 111 number.