Councils falling victim to metal thefts
Nine in ten councils have been affected by metal theft costing millions of pounds in repairs and replacements, according to new research published by the Local Government Association (LGA).
The figures show that most councils have had metal stolen from their area in the past three years, as thieves plunder street furniture, drain covers, roofs and electric cables.
The findings come amid concerns that MPs will not turn out to vote on a new Bill to overhaul the scrap metal industry. If fewer than 102 MPs attend the vote, the Bill will fail and action will stall for at least another year.
Cllr Mehboob Khan, chairman of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘This mindless crime is spiralling out of control and has cost councils millions of pounds in having to replace memorial plaques, manhole covers, metal gullies, children's playground equipment, street signs and lead from schools, council offices and crematoriums.
‘MPs will all be aware of the damage, disruption and heartaches metal thefts have caused in their areas. The legislation for regulating the scrap metal industry has long ceased to be fit for purpose and we can't afford for Parliament to stall any longer on bringing it up to date.’
Out of the 157 local authorities surveyed in England and Wales, 88% reported metal being stolen in the past three years. The cost of metal theft has risen by an estimated 26% in a year, up to £4.6m in 2010/11.
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