Vigilance calls after metal thieves target churches and leisure centreBy Hugh Fort
February 21, 2012
Homeowners in Bracknell are being urged to take note of lead and copper items on their houses as the battle against metal thefts goes on.
Chief Inspector Simon Bowden, of Bracknell police, said people should keep an eye on metal in their roofs and other parts of the house because people are often only realising items have been stolen once it rains.
The borough has seen a rise in metal thefts as the value of scrap metal has increased.
Ch Insp Bowden advises regular checks to ensure thieves have not struck.
He said: “One of the problems we have is that people aren’t aware of what is made of metal, particularly lead and copper.
“Copper tends to be within electricity cables but lead is used on roofs. The problem is when items are stolen from roofs, people only notice it when it rains.
“So we’ve then got no real indication of when it was taken.
“We need people to keep a close eye on their items.”
He said areas targeted for metal included St Margaret Clitherow Church in Birch Hill, the Kelvin Gate flats in London Road and Bracknell Leisure Centre in Bagshot Road.
Ch Insp Bowden also revealed a way to spot stolen cables.
He said: “Generally, what we’re discovering is that most of the cables stolen belong to BT.
“Cable theft is a huge problems for them and they spend millions of pounds on the solving it a year.
“BT cables always have a casing on them with BT written on it, which means the casing has to be burnt off. Doing this produces a particularly unnatural black, smelly smoke.
“They tend to do this in rural areas so if anyone does notice a really horrible smoke we’d urge them to contact us.”
He added the problem was a national one caused by the price of copper and lead rocketing.
He said in other parts of the country people had been killed after falling from roofs while stealing metal and he also knew of one incident in another town where half a mile of cabling had been ripped out of the ground.
Chf Insp Bowden added there would be several high-profile metal theft operations later in the year.