Home Local News The UK’s Copper and Lead Theft Hotspots, Revealed

The UK’s Copper and Lead Theft Hotspots, Revealed

Photo 18139171 / Copper © St3fano | Dreamstime.com

New research from building specialists, Roofing Megastore, reveals which places in the UK have reported the highest number of building material thefts over the past five years.

The data, obtained from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to UK police forces, revealed the areas of the country that are most at risk of having popular building materials, such as copper and lead, stolen from homes and local buildings.

Lancashire, Cleveland and Kent police forces have reported the most building material thefts

Northern areas of the UK reported the highest numbers of copper and lead thefts, with Lancashire Constabulary ranking in first position, with 2,712 reported crimes between the years 2017 – 2022. Three other northern counties appear in the top five – Cleveland, Northumbria, and South Yorkshire, each reporting over 1,300 thefts during the same time period.

Ranking in positions six to 10 are several areas covering the Midlands, with Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire police areas ranking in seventh, eighth and 10th respectively.

The top 10 counties with the most copper and lead thefts between 2017 and 2022

Rank Police force area Total reported thefts 2017 – 2022
1 Lancashire Constabulary 2,712
2 Cleveland Police 2,459
3 Kent Police 1,559
4 Northumbria Police 1,440
5 South Yorkshire Police 1,326
6 Humberside Police 1,309
7 Nottinghamshire Police 1,239
8 Derbyshire Constabulary 865
9 Durham Constabulary 832
10 Leicestershire Police 766


The top 25 cities in Lancashire with the most reported thefts 2017 – 2022

Within Lancashire, Preston, Burnley and Nelson are the top three cities where building material thefts have been reported the most. In Preston, almost 500 have been reported over the past five years; Burnley has seen around 300 cases of copper and lead being stolen from homes and local buildings, and in Nelson, it’s just over 250 reports.

Rank City Total thefts 2017 – 2022
1 Preston 482
2 Burnley 331
3 Nelson 263
4 Blackburn 231
5 Accrington 166
6 Colne 133
7 Blackpool 129
8 Lancaster 126
9 Lytham St Annes 121
10 Morecambe 102
11 Rossendale 81
12 Chorley 70
13 Bacup 53
14 Clitheroe 45
15 Ormskirk 37
16 Darwen 35
17 Leyland 35
18 Fleetwood 28
19 Skelmersdale 27
20 Poulton-Le-Fylde 22
21 Carnforth 19
22 Thornton-Cleveleys 17
23 Barnoldswick 13
25 Barrowford 4
25 Penwortham 4
25 Rochdale 4


Gian-Carlo Grossi, Managing Director at Roofing Megastore comments:

“The first step when you discover you’ve been robbed is always to report it to the police, either by phone or online. Following this, you’ll need to determine what impact the missing lead may have on your property. For example, missing lead, particularly if located at an abutment to a wall, could quickly result in water ingress. If left unfixed, this could cost damage that can easily cost thousands of pounds to put right, and may also cause structural issues over time.

When it comes to protecting your home’s exterior and deterring building material thieves, there are a few options – one of the most effective would be an alarm and CCTV system. Not only can these put off any potential thieves, but the footage can add a great deal of clarity when it comes to reporting the crime. Naturally, this may not be a preferred method by many, especially if you only have a small amount of copper or lead on your roof. A far cheaper alternative then could be to install a dummy camera – though bear in mind these can often be picked out by experienced burglars.

In much the same vein, dusk till dawn lighting can also ward off potential thieves. Motion sensors in particular are a sound investment with infra-red sensors switching on lights only when needed, keeping costs low. To aid in the effectiveness of these lights, you should also take care to keep trees and other vegetation cut back, maximising your home’s natural surveillance.”

To see the full list of the towns, cities and police force areas which have experienced the most lead and copper thefts over the past half a decade, visit: www.roofingmegastore.co.uk/robbed-copper

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