Friday, November 25, 2011

Guard your gates!

Scrap metal has jumped in value over the last year making the theft of any item made from copper, steel, iron etc worthwhile for thieves. Here in Spain they mostly steal copper cable from building sites and from railway lines. However, I do know of an estate where the covers off the electricity boxes were stolen for their scrap value.

It is not just in Spain where the problem exists.  Back in England the thieves are getting quite brazen e.g in Chippenham, Wiltshire, thieves climbed on the town hall roof in broad daylight to steal the lead from the roof.

In rural areas of Britain, thefts are so common that farmers don’t even bother to report them unless the items are high value. Gates, fences and even bronze garden sculptures are the items that the thieves mainly go for.

Quiet neighbourhoods are prime targets and so, In the village of Thatcham in Berkshire, thirty houses had their wrought iron gates removed in just one night. The homes are mostly owned by pensioners who would not have tackled the thieves even if they heard them. Many of the gates were custom made pieces which will be difficult not to mention expensive to replace.

It isn’t just metal that is going though, slate from roofs and stone paving are also prime targets for thieves.

Of course, none of this would occur if the scrap dealers were honest traders but clearly they are not. If some dodgy blokes arrived with thirty sets of garden gates or large reels of copper cable at your premises, wouldn’t you ask some searching questions about where they had come from? Obviously not, you’d get them melted down as quickly as possible before someone came to recognise them. As I have said before, thieves are only successful because the rest of us are dishonest enough to buy from them.

PS As for those of you with wrought iron gates, the best advice is to have one of the hinges turned upside down and get them capped. You won’t be able to remove the gates to maintain them but neither will the thieves unless they arrive with cutting torches!

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