Protect Your Property From Lead Thieves

29 March 2011, 16:59 | Updated: 29 March 2011, 17:05

Stay on your mettle against lead thieves if you are planning building work this spring.

That is the advice from Bedfordshire Police who say thieves will not hesitate to take advantage of ladders, or any other potential climbing aids, left lying around.

Chief Insp Neill Waring said the price of scrap lead is still high and reminded do-it-yourself enthusiasts and traders to ensure equipment is stored at night and access to any scaffolding is properly restricted.

Ways to protect lead include:

  • Coating it with anti-climb paint. It does not degrade the lead, but will make it very messy and difficult for a thief to remove. The paint is non-drying and marks clothing and skin, often helping the police to identify offenders
  • Forensic marking helps identify stolen metal and enables police to trace it back to the owner. It has resulted in the successful conviction of thieves. Products available include SmartWater, Red Web and Selecta DNA Grease
  • Check your roof regularly. The earlier you report a theft the more chance there is of finding the stolen metal – particularly if it is marked
  • Regularly check the perimeter security of your home or site. Limit access, particularly for vehicles, but maintain the natural surveillance provided by neighbouring premises or routes
  • Consider security lighting, CCTV and roof /drive alarms.
  • If lead or copper is due for replacement, consider modern alternatives that are less attractive for thieves.

Chief Insp Waring said: “Spring is one of those times often earmarked for building work involving the use of ladders, scaffolding and other equipment.

“Most project managers and builders are extremely security minded but with the price of lead so high we would just like to remind everyone, including the DIY enthusiast, about the importance of removing at night, or protecting, anything that could be used as a climbing aid.

“Double-check all materials and tools are securely put away after work, rather than left on site or in the back of a van, and that tools are security marked with a product like SmartWater. Today all prisoners who come into our custody suites are routinely scanned to establish whether they have come into contact with it.

“Bedfordshire Police are doing all they can to deter lead theft and residents can help by keeping an eye on building sites and contacting us if they see anything suspicious.”

For further information and crime prevention advice, contact Bedfordshire Police Crime Reduction Officers on 01234 841212 or email For information about theft contact police, in confidence on 01234 841212, text to 07786 200011 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111