The theft of metal affects everyone is the message from Crimestoppers following the launch of a campaign to increase public awareness of metal theft and Tipperary people are being asked to be vigilant and to call Crimestoppers if they see activity that might be linked to metal theft.
Metal theft is a crime that affects a wide range of businesses and community organisations with reported thefts including beer kegs, copper wires, road signs, jewellery, lead roofs and goal posts. There have also been a number of high profile thefts of precious objects including sculptures and religious relics.
Speaking at the launch assistant Garda Commissioner Derek Byrne said: “The rising demand for metal on the international market has pushed the price of metal upwards and has made it a more attractive criminal enterprise. Metal theft is not a victimless crime. Metal theft strikes at the very heart of the community.
“Significant financial loss and potentially serious harm, including death, can often result from the theft of metal from utility and rail companies. The removal of lead from roofs can cause significant costs to building and leave them prone to further damage. The theft of beer kegs has a significant economic impact for breweries that have to replace stolen kegs with new ones. This campaign is calling for the public to join us in helping to reduce the theft of metal.
“Sometimes information which may appear irrelevant can end up being very significant and I urge people to contact Crimestoppers if they see something suspicious or if they are offered metal for sale and have a suspicion about where it may have come from,” said assistant commissioner Byrne.
This campaign is kindly supported by Netwatch. According to Netwatch CEO David Walsh, attempted metal theft has become one of the biggest issues facing their customers in recent years.
“In most cases of metal theft the replacement cost is substantially higher than merely replacing the metal as thieves cause serious damage in the process of the theft, especially in the case of wiring theft which can leave rural businesses without telephones or Internet for several days.
“We have teamed up with Crimestoppers to raise awareness of the scale of metal theft crime in Ireland, the cost it is having on the Irish businesses and to encourage the public to be on the lookout for any unusual behaviour which could be linked to metal theft to try to prevent incidents from occurring in the future,” said Mr Walsh.
Members of the public are being encouraged to call Crimestoppers on 1800 25 00 25 if they see something that might be linked to the theft of metal. Calls to Crimestoppers are free and anonymous.