Police are advising people in Amber Valley, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Bolsover, High Peak and North East Derbyshire, to be alert in regards to scrap and waste collectors, and to help them to target and reduce metal thefts.
Metals thefts are expected due to a recent rise in the price of scrap metal. Such price rises can lead to an increase in demand from metal traders, which can see an increase is the theft of metal.
They are urging people to make sure they use legitimate traders and to keep an eye out and report any suspicious activity.
In particular, residents are urged to check that the traders they use have a scrap metal dealer’s licence from Amber Valley Borough Council or Derbyshire County Council, and a waste carrier’s licence issued by the Environment Agency.
A legitimate scrap metal dealer will also only offer payment by cheque or bank transfer, and they should offer you a receipt or record of the collection.
Police are also urging people to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around their neighbours properties, or places which are of religious or historical importance, including memorials, in their local areas.
Sgt. Mat Winterbottom, of the North Division Licensing Team, said: “Metal theft is not a victimless crime; it can have a knock-on effect on our communities, potentially causing distress and disruption to victims, and the environment if waste is fly-tipped and not disposed of responsibly.
“We work together with partner agencies including our local borough and district councils, Environment Agency, VOSA to tackle the issue and would encourage people to make sure that anyone they trade with around scrap metal or waste are legitimate, and to report any suspicious activity to the police.”
Other tips you can follow to help prevent and protect your property from this kind of crime include:
- Remain vigilant and report anything suspicious – metal theft can occur any time during the day or night.
- If you see someone on a roof without scaffolding, report it to the police and record the details of any vehicle being used. This information can greatly help police should there be any such thefts in your area.
- Keep an eye on any nearby schools, places of worship and disused buildings or memorials and report anyone you may see trespassing. Be vigilant if you see vans or workmen arriving unexpectedly between 6pm and 8am, as they could be looking to steal metal from the roof or building.
- If possible, restrict vehicle access to buildings by locking gates and ensure that any perimeter fences are secure. Remove any means of transporting metal away from the property such as wheelbarrows and wheelie bins. Keep these items in a secure place.
- Ensure that ladders are stored in a secure place and out of sight of any passers-by. Ideally, keep them chained or secured to a wall in a secure outbuilding such as a garage or shed.
- Consider relocating any water butts or garden furniture which could give would-be thieves easier access to the roof of a property.
- Avoid leaving scrap metal you may have outside the property or your home in full view of passers-by.
- Be a good neighbour and keep an eye on empty properties in your street or area and again report any suspicious activity to police.
- If you have copper or lead on show on your property – paint it black so it doesn’t stand out. Painting the metal black can help deter a thief from targeting the property.
If you do notice any suspicious activity, or have any information about anyone who may be dealing with scrap illegally, please get in touch using one of the following non-emergency contact methods.
- Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
- Twitter – direct message the contact centre on @DerPolContact
- Website – complete the online contact form www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
- Phone – call on 101.
You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Please note in the event of an emergency, or a crime which is in progress, you should always call 999.