THE number of metal thefts recorded annually by Gwent Police fell by more than 80 per cent between 2013 and 2018, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

In 2013, the force recorded 1,357 metal thefts. By 2018, the number had dropped to 181.

Metal thefts are generally categorised in two ways.

Infrastructure-related thefts include metals used in industries like construction (such as roof lead or thefts from building sites) or transport.

Non-infrastructure-related thefts can include non-construction metal such as fencing or disused metal items.

Using Home Office figures, the ONS found that while metal theft in Gwent had generally decreased, the proportion of non-infrastructure related thefts had increased substantially.

In 2013, slightly less than half (49 per cent) of all metal thefts recorded by Gwent Police were not connected to infrastructure. But by 2018 this type of metal theft had increased to nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of all recorded metal thefts in the region.

Responding to the figures, A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: “Gwent Police works to prevent metal thefts in Gwent through patrols and advice to businesses.

"Regular metal theft operations are run by our officers along with our partner agencies to monitor and check metal theft collection is done so legitimately."

Gwent Police listed the following advice to prevent members of the public becoming victims of metal theft:

  • Regularly review the perimeter fencing and gates security - checking for holes and weak spots, which could allow people access.
  • Improve visibility by cutting back vegetation, moving bins or consider improving your outside lighting.
  • Ensure any equipment or materials stored near to buildings does not allow easy access to the roof.
  • Anti-climb paint or physical barriers can be used to prevent access, but all anti climb devices must be clearly signposted to comply with the Occupiers Liability Act 1984.
  • Don't leaving any scrap materials lying around which could tempt thieves.
  • Consider installing CCTV with adequate monitoring and recording.