How to Prevent Metal theft

How to Prevent Metal theft


Although there is an ongoing effort to tackle metal theft, it still remains a major risk for businesses across the UK. According to Zurich real estate claims data, from 2004 to 2015, the total cost of medium and large losses (valued at over £25,000) related to metal thefts rose by 2,500% in real terms.

Are you prone to metal thieves?

There are 3 main types of buildings that are being targeted most frequently, with copper and lead as the targeted metals:

  • Historic buildings, especially churches
  • Out-of-town retail units
  • Vacant or isolated industrial units

What are the implications?

The greatest losses from metal theft is often the trail of destruction left behind by the thieves, this could have a direct effect on business or even on your home. Rebuilding and clear up costs can often take several weeks, whilst emergency repair costs can be expensive.

Case Study (from Zurich)

Where: Warehouse premises

Declared Value: £5million

Claim: The premises were located in what would be described locally as a good class of area, but had been vacant for a number of years. During that time, the premises had been the subject of occasional minor acts of vandalism.

Eventually, however, travellers broke into the unit and proceeded to strip the warehouse of its services, in the process causing significant damage to the interior finishes and fittings and causing extensive asbestos contamination.

Estimated reinstatement cost: in excess of £1millioin

How to prevent metal thefts

Some ways to mitigate any potential metal thefts is to add security measures. These could include:

  • Monitored CCTV
  • Intruder alarms – Roof alarms can be virtually invisible and large roof areas can be protected cost effectively.
  • SmartWater – By applying this to external metal, the liquid carries a unique forensic ‘code’ which is registered to an address or location.
  • Building inspections – Vacant properties should have regular and thorough inspections

Another prevention method is to engage with your local community. By joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme the local neighbours can keep a watchful eye out for any suspicious behaviour around your building.

If you would like more information on metal theft, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01789 766 888.

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