Thefts spark police warning

Sgt Warren Pitman examines the damage caused to teh roof of the Smith Art Gallery which was targeted by lead thieves
Sgt Warren Pitman examines the damage caused to teh roof of the Smith Art Gallery which was targeted by lead thieves

AN increase in the theft of lead and scrap metal has sparked a warning from police.

Over recent weeks officers from the Lower Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team have noticed an increase in the theft of lead in the Lower Valley.

Areas which have been hit include churches, commercial businesses in the town centre, sub-stations and council buildings.

One of the most recent cases was the Smith Art Gallery in Halifax Road where the estimated cost to repair the theft is in the region of £1,000. Police are still investigating.

Sergeant Warren Pitman, who heads the team, said: “I think there has been as increase in the theft of lead and scrap metal because of the economic climate. Lead is not very hard to steal and is easy to sell for a very reasonable price. Especially with scrap metal which they can pick up from anywhere.

“This does seem to be a national problem and we are urging anyone who has been a victim of lead theft to consider using plastic felt as an alternative when replacing material.

“If people still have lead at their property and want to deter thieves then, try some simple crime prevention which involves joining a neighbourhood watch group.

“If your neighbours know you have lead on your property and they see people sniffing around they can contact the police straight away or why not consider painting it black as it devalues the lead and makes it worthless.

“But just remaining vigilant and reporting anything suspicious to the police.”

Police are also appealing for information after thieves broke into an electricity sub-station in Birds Royd Lane and stole copper cables between 6.30pm on July 18 and shortly before 7am the following day. The suspects are believed to have cut the electricity supply before removing the copper cabling.

Detective Inspector Dean McIntyre, Calderdale’s Intelligence Co-ordinator, said thieves who attempt to steal cable from electricity sub-stations are taking incredible risks. “Apart from the criminal aspect of these incidents, our main concern is public safety. Anyone stealing from or damaging electricity sub-stations is putting themselves at serious risk of injury or death.”

Contact Calderdale’s Contact Management Unit on 0845 6060606.