Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Preventing Metal Thieves

The stories of metal thieving have gone on and on and nothing seems to be done about it.

Many involve safety issues such as when the copper wiring that provides the signalling for trains has been removed – this is unbelievable that anyone would do this.

And this latest one left firefighters in a tower block having to use buckets of water to tackle a blaze as essential dry riser pipes had been removed by metal thieves - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-22179165

On other occassions significant inconvenience is caused – I have heard about a village where the cables for their broadband was removed seven times last year leaving people who were running businesses from their houses unable to communicate for days on end. This is unacceptable.  And locally where I live there have been churches targetted for lead, resulting in a congregation having to raise a further £7,000 which should be instead going to good causes. And every piece of public metal seems to be vulnerable – memorials, street signs, you name it. If you dont pin it down and guard it, then its gone !

However I can propose a reasonably simple solution.

The legitimate trade in metal, presumable comes from a variety of sources. From buildings being dismantled on either a small or large scale. From for example plumbers taking out pipes. Beyond that I cant quite think of further examples – comments please !
However all these people, if trading legitimately, can be issued with metal certificate booklets. These would be legal documents similar to MOT Certificates in their importance.

So, for example, take the example of a local builder who is working on a church. If the lead is to be removed and replaces with for example PVC, then the builder would obtain a signature from the Vicar, Minister or Priest, on that form with a brief description of the metal product. It could be signed and dated and the address of the property given.

It is then delivered to the metal scrap merchant, weighed and again signed for and recorded.

The original or a carbon copy of the original builder’s certificate with signature would have to be submitted at this stage and sent in to the government department overseeing this. (Again a similar process happens when you have to buy a new number plate – that information is all submitted via a computer to check that people are not fraudulently purchasing number plates.)

 End of story !

If people are illegitimately removing lead from a roof then in that case, firstly they would soon be caught using this method. Presumably they would firstly either have to completely fraudulently fill out a form, or they would work their way through their friends and neighbours and persuade them to complete the form to claim the lead was removed from their house or premises.  However in the end this would catch up with them by a simple cross examination of their accounts and where they are working etc etc.

It seems like a possible solution to me !
What do you think ?

A fraudulent scrap metal dealer who decided to accept metal without questioning the sources or who similarly falsified documents would again be quickly found out as the weights of metal etc that he traded onwards would not match up with the weights of metal that he had accepted from the legitimate sources. So once the metal is on his premises, the weights of each consignment along with its source should be identifiable. I presume they all have weighing methods on their premises otherwise how would they have traded so far !

Please forward to anyone you can think of who would be interested or able to do something about this.

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