Although copper theft has been an ongoing problem in the UK as well as elsewhere around the world, police are reporting more theft than ever before and they are on the alert at all times. Surprisingly, where it had once been only gangs of thieves who pillaged stockyards and abandoned buildings, more and more average people are finding ways to scour for copper as the economy worsens and the price of copper soars.

In fact, the Financial Times reports that the number of arrests in the UK has more than quadrupled recently and police are just not able to stay on top of the problem. The deputy chief constable of the British Transport Police, Paul Crowther, states that they feel like they are fighting a losing battle.

With a benchmark price of copper rising as much as 38% just within the past couple of years, it is no wonder copper thieves are abounding. Since much of this valuable metal is taken from abandoned buildings, there isn’t enough manpower to go around to keep them all secure. Unfortunately, thieves are getting braver by the day but on a positive note, this does allow for more of them to get caught in the act.

However, even though it isn’t always easy to catch the criminals in the act, they need to sell their stolen goods somewhere. This is why police are focusing their attention on the companies that buy copper for recycling. There is movement to ban cash trades which has the industry up in arms. Whilst cash trade enables thieves to get away with their crimes, it still accounts for 1/5 of the industry’s turnover which is estimated to be £5 million.

Things will most likely get worse before they get better because market analysts and economists believe we are on the precipice of a double dip recession. If prices of copper continue going up and the economy continues falling, we will be seeing much more of this in the coming months.

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