A recent police report estimated that metal theft had cost the county £200,000 during the last financial year.


Trace-in-Metal ltd recently attended a crime prevention seminar organised by Leicestershire Police, held at St Marys Church, Melton Mowbray, on Thursday 28th April 2016. The seminar focused on the difficulties being encountered across the county in relation to the theft of metal roofing materials, especially lead theft.

The seminar sought to bring together different partners who could offer solutions to the on-going problems, and Trace-in-Metal represented by John Barr and Paul Batty were able to fully describe the layered response that the Trace-in-Metal roof protection system brings to preventing metal theft. 

Said John Barr “It was really interesting to understand the number of repeat offences that parishes have suffered across Leicestershire, some suffering two or even three attacks.”

There have reportedly been 20 such attacks in 2015 and 10 so far in 2016, and recently Leicestershire has become something of a Heritage Crime metal theft ‘Hot-Spot’. The situation is also problematic across East Anglia, with churches in both Norfolk and Suffolk suffering repeated attacks and we have reported on this in an earlier news item. 

Speakers during the day raised issues such as removing lead from roofs in an effort to prevent it from being stolen. Replacing lead with another less valuable material may seem a logical approach, however Lead roofs are designed to last more than a life time, and are often extremely important to the integrity of historic and listed buildings. This approach would also be very costly in terms of labour costs, and any thoughts of using the revenue from recycling the lead would simply not add up.

John Barr of Trace-in-Metal Ltd. (Pictured) commenting on the seminar said, “The approach of post theft replacement with cheaper and composite materials is another discussion point, and the stance of Historic England in replacing like for like is we believe correct, because of the lasting and aesthetic properties of lead as a building material. Lead has been used for centuries, it is extremely durable, very efficient at keeping out the weather, and is low energy, low carbon and 100% recyclable”.

There are a number of positive actions that can be taken that will prevent lead being stolen from heritage buildings. Trace-in-Metal provides a ‘layered’ approach to protecting metal assets, starting at the perimeter of any building with clear signage that warns that metal has been indelibly marked with the system.

Trace-in-Metal mark the lead in three ways, by firing microdots into the metal itself, and spraying thousands more microdots onto the surface of the lead using a UV reactive lacquer. The post-code of the premises protected is also written onto the lead in UV ink.

The Trace-in-Metal microdots don’t corrode, can easily be read using simple magnifying glasses, and will last throughout the recycling process. They even survive the lead being MELTED DOWN.

Said John Barr, “By taking this approach, we not only target the thieves, we also target the dishonest scrap metal dealer, and it is well recognised that this is the main driver behind metal theft. If we can stop them buying the stolen metal, by making it traceable throughout the process, the thieves will not steal it.”

The ’layered’ response continues, as Trace-in-Metal proactively publicise their activities and installations with partners including the recycling industry, and should any lead be stolen, the company can send out e.alerts to the police and scrap metal dealers, warning them that stolen metal has been marked and can be traced back to source. By doing this the company believes that they make stolen metal “…….too hot to handle.”

A further element of the ‘layered’ approach is the post theft event package, which is primarily aimed at reducing resource demand for the police and end user. In the unlikely event that any Trace-in-Metal marked assets are stolen, the secure database will produce a Police Compliant Witness Statement, that will provide all the evidence needed to prove the identity of the metal and the installation. 

Building on the sucessful insurance backed Trace-in-Metal trials that are in place across Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, the company were able to provide updates to the visiting delegates regarding the on-going conduct of the trails which save for one minor theft, see all the installations across the north of England remaining intact.  

Further details of the new and innovative approach can be found on the company website or by contacting the company on 0330 2233014.

If you have any information regarding who is recieving stolen metal contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111