West Mercia Police has warned metal thieves work continues to target them as the number of metal thefts rises slightly.
More than 580 metal thefts were recorded by West Mercia Police during March 2019 and March 2020. The figure is lower than four years ago when almost 1,000 were reported, however is slightly higher than last year.
Broken down 184 of those offences were items such as lead roofing from buildings, vehicle parts and electricity or railway cables while 414 were items such as scrap metal or metal plaques.
Right across the counties covered by West Mercia Police licensing officers work with scrap metal dealers and regularly visit scrap metal yards to offer advice and support and help dealers make sure they’re complying by the rules of their trading licence and doing all they can to make sure that the origin of the metal they are dealing in is genuine.
And, as part of We Don’t Buy Crime’s work with second-hand stores, scrap metal dealers are given the opportunity to sign up to an information agreement scheme and work with police to reduce the resale of stolen goods.
We Don’t Buy Crime’s Inspector Ram Aston said: “Through our We Don’t Buy Crime work and our licensing visits there are layers of crime prevention we can put in place to help reduce the resale of stolen goods, and essentially make stealing less profitable.
“Licensing officers work with scrap metal dealers and regularly visit scrap metal yards right across the counties we cover to offer advice and support. In partnership with the dealers we can help them make sure they are working to the terms of their licence and are doing everything possible to ensure the origin of the metal they are trading in is genuine.
“These visits, in conjunction with our We Don’t Buy Crime work with second-hand stores, which includes scrap metal dealers, means we can help them in their approach to do this.
“By providing them with a UV torch they can check if the property has been forensically property marked and by sharing information about stolen goods we can make it easier for them to identify if goods they are being offered for sale is stolen property.
“The public can play a part too, by forensically property marking their valuable items including metal, in the unfortunate event it does get stolen our crime prevention layers can not only help identify the thief but also help reunite them with the items that have been taken.”