>Updated 4/1/12 – The MPS launches first ever dedicated unit to tackle metal theft

>Update 4/1/12 – Church metal theft cases reach record high in 2011 via the BBC

Update 23/12/11 – News article in the Telegraph Insurers urge radical security rethink following metal sculpture theft”

The MPS is launching its first ever dedicated unit to tackle metal theft – a spiralling problem which is costing the economy an estimated £700 million a year and causing the deaths of two offenders a month in the UK, according to the most recent research.

The new multi-agency Waste and Metal Theft Taskforce, whose team includes experts from BT and the local authority’s environmental crime unit, is based in Bexley, one of the boroughs most severely affected by metal theft due to its high number of scrap metal yards.
In the first two weeks of December officers across the Met carried out a total of 275 inspections and searches of scrap metal dealer yards, arrested 15 people for offences ranging from burglary to transporting waste metal illegally without a licence, and seized 16 vehicles.

Whilst the task force is a good idea, why do we always have to rely on law enforcement? Shouldn’t we be making it more difficult for stolen goods to be sold to ‘dodgy scrap yards’, or stopping cash sales or even asking for proof of ID from sellers? 
The new task force will be busy…this is the recently 
stolen Barbara Hepworth sculpture (worth £500k)


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