Scrap metal thefts are helping to drive sales of plastic products amongst businesses, according to workplace equipment provider Slingsby
The company supplies more than 35,000 products across all industries and over the last 12 months said it has experienced soaring sales of security related products as well as a steep rise in the number of customers specifying products that are not made of metal.
Nationally, it's estimated that 15,000 tonnes of metal was stolen last year and this recently led to the launch of Operation Tornado, which is a voluntary scheme that asks scrap yards to record the details of everyone they buy metal from. The initiative is run by the British Transport Police, British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office.
Lee Wright, marketing director of Slingsby, explains: "Reports of copper being stolen from church roofs, miles of railway track disappearing, manhole covers vanishing and even plaques being removed from war memorials have all made headlines recently. There's no doubt Operation Tornado will make it more difficult for criminals to sell stolen metals but because it's voluntary and only operates in certain parts of the UK this illegal activity will still continue.
"New legislation is currently being considered that that will ban cash payments for scrap metal, because at the moment thieves can virtually trade anonymously with scrap yards, and fines for all offences listed under the 1964 Scrap Metal Dealers Act look set to rise in order to deter thieves."
Lee adds: "However these changes could still be some way off so until then workplaces have no choice but to continue protecting themselves from thieves and as a result we're seeing sales increasing of all types of security products ranging from dummy cameras through to security fencing.
"In addition lots of customers are avoiding metal products and buying plastic alternatives instead across a huge range of products including bins, benches and even signs. We manufacture a lot of these products in-house using our purpose designed plastic moulding facility and we're currently increasing production to meet this growing demand which looks set to continue unless drastic action is taken to halt the problem."