Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 2 November 2011


Report of the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services


Action Against Metal Thefts


Purpose of the Report

1.             To inform Members of Operation Regulate.  A multi-agency operational and strategic approach to tackling metal thefts.


1.             T H A T Committee note the multi-agency work that is being undertaken to tackle metal thefts within the Vale of Glamorgan.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To enable Committee to consider the work being done to tackle the national issue of metal thefts.


2.             This report has been prepared following a request from Councillor Curtis regarding the Metal Theft problem in the area.

3.             Metal theft is a national problem, costing the British economy an estimated £770 million a year.

4.             Criminals tend to see metal theft as posing less risk of arrest and conviction, hence many areas of the UK have seen increases in occurrences in line with inflating market prices of metal.

5.             In the Vale of Glamorgan the level of metal theft actually fell by an estimated 9.2% from April to August compared to the same period in 2009-10.

6.             The level of copper theft has remained relatively stable, the level of lead theft has decreased and the level of other metal theft (such as washing machines, gates, fencing etc) has increased, as a proportion, by 10.9%.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.             Operation Regulate approaches the issue from three angles, Prevention, Intelligence and Enforcement.

8.             Prevention includes:

·               Advice given by the Crime Prevention Officer to prevent repeat thefts of metal.

·               Greater Partnership engagement with the scrap metal trade.

·               Design and distribution of crime prevention leaflets.

·               Media strategies to be devised to raise awareness of the issue.

·               Identify and work within hotspot areas.

·               Use of current resources such as Neighbourhood watch and CCTV.

9.             Intelligence includes:

·               Regular updates in morning tasking, daily briefing and fortnightly tasking, using intelligence led data and problem profiles.

·               Regular Partnership updates to ensure a multi-agency approach.

·               Develop cross border relationships to reduce the opportunity for displacement.

10.        Enforcement includes:

·               Multi-agency approach to target hotspot areas.

·               Neighbourhood policing teams to regularly visit scrap dealers.

·               Exploring the use of civil tools to disrupt offending once offenders have been caught.

11.        Action  to date includes:

·               Scrap dealers within Barry have been visited to ensure compliance with licence and regulations.

·               Details of scrap metal dealers are being made available on a central database that Police can access easily.

·               Schools in the Vale have been contacted with crime prevention advice in relation to metal thefts, especially lead thefts.

·               A report has been produced to monitor the flytipping of stripped cable throughout the Vale which provides intelligence for hotspot locations.

·               Rogue trader day targeted potential metal thieves by stopping vehicles in scrap yard areas.

·               A number of residents have been subject to theft of seemingly unwanted items that they have left in their gardens.  Discarding items in such a way can lead to theft and could lead to other opportunistic crime.  A campaign to raise the profile of kerbside collections is being undertaken in order to reduce the number of households leaving metal products such as washing machines and fridges in their back gardens.

·               The level of reported metal thefts along with motive and locations will be monitored and appropriate action taken through the Safer Vale Partnership.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

12.        A multi-agency approach will ensure that the overall cost of any action is kept to a minimum and within existing budgets.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.        None as a result of this report. 

Crime and Disorder Implications

14.        The actions above should have a positive impact on crime and disorder in the Vale of Glamorgan with the aim of reducing the number of metal thefts. 

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.        There are no equal opportunity implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.        Work in relation to action against metal thefts falls within the Corporate Community Safety and Wellbeing objectives.  ‘To make the Vale a safe and healthy place in which individuals, children and families can live their lives to the full’.

17.        The Community Safety Service objectives are:

·               Working in partnership to reduce crime and the fear of crime, providing a safer environment.

·               Implementation of the Council’s Section 17 duties.

Policy Framework and Budget

18.        This report is for Scrutiny Committee consideration only.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.        Councillor Paul Church – Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Chair of the Safer Vale Partnership.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.        Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

No background papers


Contact Officer

Deborah Gibbs, Principal Community Safety Officer


Officers Consulted

David Sanders

Miles Punter


Responsible Officer:

P H Evans, Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services