|Lead Thieves on the Climb Again|
After driver has unpleasant surprise in Park Royal
Anyone with a reasonably accessible lead roof should be aware that lead thieves are operating in Acton at the moment.
Maria Pettit, a local resident, reported: "The adjoining garage to ours has had a long line of lead removed from their roof two weekends ago and [thieves] tried to remove the lead off our garage roof as well last weekend.
"They managed to rip off some but luckily were interrupted by a neighbour who described them as three white males. This took place at approx 4.00 am."
Thieves are increasingly taking lead from church rooves and elsewhere as demand for scrap metal sends prices soaring. Some are even using internet sites like Google Earth to seek out their targets. The scale of the increase is staggering. In 2003 there were just 10 insurance claims totally £20,000. Last year there were 2,500 claims for stolen lead totalling an insurance claim bill of £9m.
Some are resorting to nanotechnology to help. Certainly, when we spoke to the Parish Office at St Mary's Church, where lead was repeatedly stolen from the roof some time ago, they had taken a number of steps to deter thieves: "We have to use Smartwater now - insurance companies make this a condition for all churches.
"We have also taken a number of other measures to improve security for the roof."
Smartwater is water with a unique chemical identity which can be easily traced. Technology can be decoded to prove where lead came from.
If residents with lead rooves would like more information about Smartwater, they should contact their local Safer Neighbourhood Team either by phone or email (see box, above).
September 4, 2009