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Protecting Yourself From Metal Theft

scrap metal


The theft of metal from railway lines, roofing lead, electricity substations and telecommunications sites causes extreme damage to property and results in considerable financial loss as well as potentially putting members of the public and offenders in great danger.

Derbyshire Constabulary have launched Operation Calanthia to target this problem. Working together with partner agencies, we aim to deter metal thieves and the scrap metal dealers who may be handling stolen metal.

On this page you can find useful information on securing the metal within your home and business.

Protecting your metal

In your home

There are some simple steps you can take to make your household metal less attractive to thieves:

  • Mark your metal with weatherproof security marking kits, etching or engraving, ceramic marking or through damage marking such as a large painted sign on heavy or large items.
  • If your house is being renovated, make sure that any metals removed from areas such as plumbing is kept secured and not stored for disposal in an easily-accessible location.
  • Secure the boundary of your household where feasible. Primarily, move any items that would make it easy for a thief to gain access to your roof, such as water butts, trees or waste bins.
  • Check your roof on a regular basis to reduce further damage to your property through weather conditions should parts of your roof be missing due to theft.

At your business

If you are a business, there are a wide range of simple, low-cost measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of your business becoming a victim of metal theft. 

The following are some suggestions:
  • Where possible make premises physically secure, using locks, gates or fencing. If existing security is in place make sure that it is being used.

  • Remove the opportunity to steal by disposing of any scrap materials and equipment as soon as possible.

  • Do not leave ladders or other tools where they could be used by thieves to gain access to your building or to remove your metal.

  • Think about using anti-climb paint on drains and guttering to reduce the ability for thieves to gain access to your roof. Do not use this below a height of two meters.

  • Dont' advertise the presence of cabling covering it up or containing it within alarmed containers or by using ground anchors.

  • Use security marking products to make items identifiable and less desirable to steal. There are a range of commercial UV flourescent greases and lacquers that are available.

  • Use CCTV where available and ensure that it is operating properly. Make sure that lighting is working, and think about installing extra lighting if critical parts of your premises are unlit.

  • Make sure that items such as wheelbarrows or wheelie bins are locked away at night, as these items may be used to transport materials away from the premises.

  • Encourage staff to challenge people that they do not know who and report any suspicions.

  • Prohibit general access to areas where metals are stored, and try to increase security around the times that metals are delivered to your premises.

  • If possible adapt business methods to minimise the amount of metals kept on site. Keep a master list of the equipment and bulk metal you do have, and if possible take photographs of these.
  • Consider alternatives to metal such as lead on roofs, that would reduce your risk.
  • Ensure your insurance coverage is adequate in regards to metal theft. Ensure this is kept up to date should the nature of yoru business or your business premises changes.


Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.