By Jose Luis Nebot On

Metal theft cost millions

Unfortunately, metal theft from construction sites is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK. Insurer Allianz Cornhill recently revealed that theft alone costs the industry just shy of £800M per annum. It’s a huge concern for not only the industrial and construction industry, but the communities they serve.

 The theft of metal from infrastructure is more than just an inconvenience of costs; it can lead to major disruptions in scheduled services and create serious safety concerns. We wanted to discuss the necessary and efficient construction security measures that can be considered, in order to prevent metal theft from construction sites.

Why metal?

Although high-value tools and machinery are extremely attractive to thieves, raw metals have increased in popularity with criminals. Certain metals are very high-value and are difficult to track down once stolen, which is why opportunistic thieves continue to target sites that offer them easy access

Copper, lead, stainless steel, aluminium and iron are being targeted by thieves looking for easy and quick money. With the value of metal continuing to increase, it can be sold onto scrap yard dealers for a lot of money. Thieves grab what they can, leaving a lot of internal and external damage, escaping with an easy profit.

With 7,000 thefts, per month, recorded nationwide, copper theft is of particular concern. Thieves target gas pipes, electrical wiring, copper cable and lightning conductors, all of which can be stripped from vacant homes, industrial buildings and, primarily, construction sites. 

The impact

When items are stolen from a construction site, the losses impact the business a lot further than the value of the metal. Other costs include the amount needed to replace the lost goods, and repairing the damage caused from the theft. It also means that projects can be delayed significantly, so the site would have to account for any project overrun expenses. Insurance premiums may increase and site managers must then spend time and effort reporting the incident to the authorities.

There are numerous ways to secure your site and protect you from theft. Remember, that any security services will be an investment to your property. It may seem like a fairly sizable expense to begin with, but trust us when we say that these services will prove invaluable to your company in the long run.

Secure your site

The area surrounding your site should be properly secured; ideally, using high quality fencing and locking systems. These should be checked daily for damage and potential unauthorised access points. Staff should be trained how to securely lock entry points at the end of the working day, as will this cover your back. If everyone knows how to utilise the system, you increase your chances of utmost security. Additionally, padlocks, razor wire and anti-climb paint are all appropriate methods to further discourage theft and vandalism.

 When checking the terrain, be vigilant and leave nothing to chance. Remove any possible access onto building roofs when not in use; this doesn’t have to be construction equipment. Waste bins, stationary vehicles and even overgrown vegetation can allow trespassers access to a construction site. Keep in mind that if you do have extra scaffolding in place at any time, it’s a good idea to disclose this building work to your insurance company to ensure you’re covered.

Clear and visible signs stating prosecution of trespassers will also act as a powerful deterrent. Similarly, signs that ask the community to call the police if they see suspicious activity occurring out of hours can be helpful too. Thieves will always try their luck in sites where there is no lighting, as they can sneak in undetected, so construction sites should be kept well-lit, especially after-hours.

Stock management

Having an inventory system in place will help you to keep a record of all onsite tools, equipment and high-value materials. Take photos and make sure your lists are accurate and organised, so you can easily identify any problems. Ensure that supply arriving on site is signed for and proper documentation received, this way you have proof of the physical stock you have.

Talking of stock, it might seem like a good idea to pre-order large quantities of supplies and store them on site. The most secure option, however, is to schedule orders as and when you need them. It means that your communication must be thorough with co-workers, so that deliveries can be accurately arranged, in order for projects to stay on track. In essence, having excess materials laying around on site, unfortunately, just invites people to steal them.

Authorised personnel only

To ensure health, safety and security, it’s imperative that only authorised persons have access to the site. A keycard system or even more efficient, a biometric access control unit can be installed to help managers monitor who is on the premises. The smart data can track how long staff have been on site and if anyone is using an expired or fake ID card in an attempt to enter the site.

To further enhance your construction site security, it’s important that regular employee checks and training are carried out. This ensures the wellbeing and safety of all staff and accidents or incidents are a lot less likely to happen if this becomes regular protocol.

Forensic grease

Metal items can actually be marked with a forensic grease which is clearly visible under ultraviolet lighting. Once a thief handles the metal, the grease transfers onto their hands and clothing and the criminal is then irrefutably linked to the crime scene.

The grease is almost impossible to remove, and contains microscopic discs containing a unique code linked to your property. With an increase in popularity, more recently, forensic grease has played a crucial role in the recovery and return of stolen goods.

CCTV camera installation

Investing in CCTV video is an extremely effective way of monitoring your construction security. It’s important that the surveillance cameras are set up to enable you a wide range of site visibility. Image is very important but so is the field of vision. In order to provide the most efficient overview of an area, consider 360-degree dome cameras.

They will provide you with a more accurate overall view of a location. If you are in need of something more targeted, for example, for more visibility on a narrow walkway, bullet cameras are just as effective and allow you to focus on the area in question. Quality is extremely important, so take a look at the best CCTV models out there and always purchase from a reputable supplier. 


Contact us for more information about our construction site security services 

Carry out a comprehensive risk assessment of your construction site to ascertain high-risk areas and pinpoint the most suitable security services for your business. 

Investing in any of these construction site security services will significantly increase both your on-site and off-site safety. The bottom line is being prepared. Preventing the detrimental impact of metal theft and site crime before it happens is the smartest thing you can do. Review your current security plan and make sure it’s up to date for what your site needs. 

Here at Stok K9 Security Services, we provide comprehensive, high quality security services. Whatever your security needs, we have the equipment and expertise to help you take the necessary steps to protect your industrial business. If you’d like to find out more about our construction security services, then get in touch! Contact Stok K9 Security Services today on 0800 002 5761 or by emailing us on


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