Crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers has this week launched a pilot campaign to tackle the issue of metal theft across Yorkshire and Humberside, which costs the UK economy around £770 million per year.
The campaign is being run across the whole region, as well as the north east, as the charity aims to fight the number of incidents in the respective regions that are disrupting the local community.
Crimes reported include the theft of manhole covers, lead from church roofs and the stealing of war memorials.
The aim of this pilot campaign is to increase the amount of information to Crimestoppers from the public about the theft of metal, with the view that further campaigns can be run in the future tackling larger scale metal theft affecting industries such as transport and communication.
Crimestoppers Regional Manager for Yorkshire & Humberside, Dave Hunter, said: “Crimestoppers wants to encourage the public to fight back against the metal thieves who create severe disruption for local communities and cost millions to the UK economy.
“We want to scrap the metal thieves and the local public can help us to do this by passing on any information they might have on those committing this crime anonymously to Crimestoppers.
“We don’t want to know who you are, only what you know and you might even qualify for a reward.”
Acting Chief Inspector Sarah Jane Sanderson of North Yorkshire Police, said: “We fully support Crimestoppers’ latest campaign to crack down on metal thieves.
“This type of crime causes misery to thousands of businesses and communities and costs the country millions of pounds a year.”
Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd (Local Policing) from West Yorkshire Police, said: “This is an issue we take very seriously and tackling metal theft is a top priority.
“But the answer to this issue lies in the communities we serve across West Yorkshire.
“In order to assist us in tackling this type of crime we need members of the public to be our eyes and ears and to pass on any information they have.
“All information helps us to build a clear picture of what is going on – so someone might spot people acting suspiciously by a church and then driving off in a van.
“Just take a note of the registration and pass it on.
“It might be that we have seven other pieces of intelligence linking that van to other thefts and that final piece in the jigsaw helps us to arrest someone.
“I appreciate that sometimes people might only have a suspicion and not feel that it would merit a call to the police.
“But we now have the new non emergency number 101 for people to call with matters such as this.
“Or people might not feel comfortable reporting things to the police.
“And this is where it is so important that we have Crimestoppers on board.”
Wetherby church St James suffered flood damage last August after thieves stole lead from the roof.
To pass on information about a metal theft contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the secure online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.