Empty properties are the latest target of metal thieves, according to vacant property services company VPS.
VPS said its research shows that metal theft was the top concern for property managers dealing with vacant property. Metal theft is estimated to cost UK business £770m a year.
UK managing director of VPS Nick Tubbs said: “Metal theft is no longer an unexpected event, but rather an inevitability. It’s no surprise that this latest epidemic is a major concern for vacant property managers.
“Not only do any stolen metals have to be replaced, but catastrophic water damage and flooding are often caused during their removal, such as when copper pipes from the water or central heating systems are stolen.”
The research comes days after Parliament heard from British Metals Recycling Association director general Ian Hetherington, who told a Transport Select Committee inquiry into railway cable theft that the scrap metals industry is “very worried about a knee-jerk reaction from Government.”
He told MPs that the association opposed banning cash transactions for scrap because it could drive legal trade to illegitimate merchants. The BMRA prefers the introduction of photo ID requirements for sellers and a crackdown on illegal operators to stem the outlets for stolen metal.