Crimestoppers is appealing to people to take measures to prevent the theft of metal from vacant properties.
Rising demand for metal on the international market has pushed the price upwards and has made more attractive to criminals.
Metal theft is a crime that affects a wide range of businesses and community organisations. Reported thefts include beer kegs, copper wires, road signs, jewellery, lead roofs and goal posts.
According to reports made to An Garda Síochána, vacant buildings and properties advertised for sale are being targeted by burglars. Thieves are stripping the copper pipes and tanks from empty properties. Properties in isolated areas are especially vulnerable.
The owners of vacant properties, auctioneers, property managers and letting agents can take steps to reduce the risk to vacant properties. In particular, it is important that frequent checks of the property are carried out, at different times of the day. This is important in case a property is being watched, and can act as a deterrent.
Doors and windows should be well secured and a burglar alarm installed. Timers on internal lights and motion detectors on external lights can make a property appear occupied.
Don’t let rubbish build up around the property and keep grass and hedges cut. Use a “no junk mail” sign on the letter box and make sure that post does not build up. This will help the property look occupied, making it less vulnerable.
Crimestoppers and security company Netwatch have teamed up in a campaign to raise awareness around the country about the theft of metal. People are being asked to be vigilant and to call Crimestoppers if they see activity that might be linked to metal theft.
If you have any information in relation to the theft of metal, you can contact your local Garda Station or Crimestoppers on 1800 25 00 25. Your call to Crimestoppers is free and anonymous and you might receive a reward for information.
www.crimestoppers.ie; free phone confidential number 1800 25 00 25