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Businesses warned of rise in metal theft

Crimestoppers is giving out advice on how to protect your business.

Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and Netwatch CEO David Walsh
Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and Netwatch CEO David Walsh
Image: Sasko Lazarov via Photocall Ireland

OVER 2,500 INCIDENTS of metal theft are reported each year.

There’s been a recent spate of copper cable thefts, including that of a DART signal cable that forced services to be cancelled.

According to Gardaí copper, aluminium and lead are the main targets for thieves.

While copper prices are stabilising because of increased supply, market prices for aluminium and lead are both on the increase due to falling production levels.

Other metals that are increasingly in demand are platinum, palladium and rhodium present in catalytic converters of vehicles.

Particular targets for metal thieves are agricultural sites that are likely to have heavy machinery or farm equipment on site and vacant properties and isolated areas.

Reported incidents include the theft of catalytic converters, the stripping of copper wiring, pipes, tubing, tanks, and lead from roofs, as well as electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems.

Businesses are being reminded to remain vigilant to metal theft by tech security specialists Netwatch.

CEO and Co-Founder of Netwatch David Walsh said, “What we have noticed is that many of the incidents are becoming increasingly opportunistic rather than carefully planned operations by organised gangs and are affecting a wider network of people businesses.

Often, the cost of replacing the stolen items outweighs the cost of the item itself due to the physical and related damage that is incurred.

“In the case of wire theft, businesses in rural areas are particularly susceptible and can be seriously affected if left without vital telephone and internet connection for several days”.

Crimestoppers

Netwatch also works closely with Crimestoppers in a campaign to raise awareness around the country about the theft of metal.

Netwatch is advising business owners to implement the following measures:

  • Check your perimeter fencing and ensure all gates and locks are properly secured.
  • A well-lit area will deter most criminals from vandals to thieves. 
  • Contact your security provider to ensure that your list of contacts and key holders are up to date.
  • Be familiar with your assets and know what is most valuable in the eyes of thieves
  • Consider painting copper components black so that they appear like regular plastic tubing.
  • Farmers should ensure any outbuildings are secure and check that all farm equipment is marked and easily identifiable so as to make it difficult for criminals to sell.
  • Park vehicles in well-lit areas and don’t leave them in the same position for prolonged periods of time.
  • Consider improving security systems to prevent catalytic converter theft by discussing options with your local garage.

People are also being asked to be vigilant and to call Crimestoppers if they see activity that might be linked to metal theft.

If you have any information in relation to the theft of metal, you can contact your local Garda Station or Crimestoppers on 1800 25 00 25.

Your call to Crimestoppers is free and anonymous and you might receive a reward for information.

Read: Beer kegs, road signs and goal posts go missing as metal thefts rise>

Read: 25 ‘travelling criminals’ arrested over stolen metal>

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