Warning over metal thefts as copper shortage sparks worry in Suffolk

Police have warned against copper thefts as demand for the metal surges in a post-Covid construction boom

Police have warned against copper thefts as demand for the metal surges in a post-Covid construction boom - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Farmers, churches and businesses have been warned against the risk of metal thefts as copper prices rise and shortages increase.

Though Suffolk has not seen an increase in metal thefts in recent weeks, the police force is advising people to take necessary precautions to combat the potential for thieves to exploit the situation.

Copper prices are on the rise driven by the combination of surging demand and a global copper deficit.

The increase in price is also driven by an increase in demand due to the recovery of the economy post-Covid, particularly as the construction industry gets back on its feet once again.

Sgt Brian Calver from the Suffolk Wildlife and Rural Crime Team said: "I’d suggest people conduct a review of their security of their assets and I’d advise that both new and scrap cable is stored out of site, and that cable is forensically marked so that it can be traced.

"In addition, where possible it is advised that valuable assets are covered by CCTV and adequate lighting.

"These offences often amount to tens of thousands of pounds of damage and loss but there’s the hidden cost to the economy by way of the temporary loss of infrastructure and the inconvenience that comes with it.”

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Businesses are advised of the value of copper in cabling and associated thefts where multiple cable drums or large amounts of cable are stolen at a time.  

Advice from Suffolk Constabulary on how to prevent 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’ censored 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
  • Consider using a forensic property marking solution, such as SmartWater or SelectaDNA to security mark your property

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