Metal theft tackling website launch goes off with a bang
On Monday 15th July, Yorkshire-based charity People United Against Crime launched a new, interactive website – Scrapwatch – to further reduce the losses and disruption caused by metal theft, a crime for which Yorkshire has been a national hotspot. The website was launched at the Lifewise Centre, Rotherham in partnership with South Yorkshire Police, Northern Powergrid and local scrap metal dealer SME Ltd.
Delegates witnessed a cable thief fleeing an exploding substation and a passer-by reporting it online to Scrapwatch. The live demonstration showed how quickly an alert can be issued following an incident of metal theft.
David Ransom, Chief Executive of People United Against Crime said “Metal theft is an extremely serious crime. Not only does it affect local businesses greatly, it can also lead to serious injury and death. People United Against Crime is delighted to be able to provide the police and industry with an interactive and reliable platform to tackle metal theft head on.”
Scrapwatch, which is funded by the National Metal Theft Taskforce, is a free, easy to use metal theft alert website which is available to all businesses (regardless of size), police, local authorities and any organisations affected by metal theft.
Victims can log on to www.scrapwatch.co.uk to post incidents of metal theft which are issued as email alerts to all members including the recycling industry, who could identify the stolen metal if it is sold as scrap.
The Yorkshire and Humber region has been one of the worst affected areas in the UK for metal theft. However following a number of initiatives like Scrapwatch, metal theft has reduced by 45% in West Yorkshire and 36% in South Yorkshire.
Inspector Jason Booth from South Yorkshire Police said: “Scrapwatch gives the opportunity to bring business, the industry and the police together to help reduce the losses and disruption metal theft causes.
“The metal industry is becoming more regulated and Scrapwatch is another tool to help catch thieves and reduce the consequences of metal theft for the whole community.”
A spokesperson from Northern Powergrid stated “Theft of metal from Northern Powergrid’s distribution network is a persistent problem. Thieves not only put their own lives at risk, but also the lives of anyone who may innocently come into contact with our equipment. Their actions also disrupt communities, leaving people without power. We have been and will continue to work hard with the police and industry partners to prevent and reduce the impact of metal theft. If you see any suspicious activity close to power lines or substations please call the police, Northern Powergrid on 0800 375 675 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111”.