Preston ranks second-highest in UK for building material thefts

Posted on - 14th July, 2022 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Fylde News, Lancashire Police, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Spires on the skyline of Preston Pic: Tony Worrall
Spires on the skyline of Preston Pic: Tony Worrall

Research has revealed that Preston had the highest number of building material thefts in Lancashire over the last five years and is the city with the second-highest figures in the UK.


Building experts Roofing Megastore made Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the UK to discover the most reported locations.

Lancashire took the top spot, with 2,712 cases of copper and lead reported stolen since 2017, and Preston (482 thefts), Burnley (331 thefts) and Nelson (263 thefts) are the top three cities with the most thefts.

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Gian-Carlo Grossi, Managing Director at Roofing Megastore, said: “The first step when you discover you’ve been robbed is always to report it to the police, either by phone or online.

“Following this, you’ll need to determine what impact the missing lead may have on your property. For example, missing lead, particularly if located at an abutment to a wall, could quickly result in water ingress.

“If left unfixed, this could easily cost thousands of pounds to put right and may also cause structural issues over time.”

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The top 25 cities in Lancashire with the most reported thefts from 2017 to 2022

Lancashire, Cleveland and Kent police forces have reported the most building material thefts.

Northern areas of the UK reported the highest number of copper and lead thefts, with Lancashire Constabulary ranking first, with 2,712 reported crimes between the years 2017 to 2022.

Three other northern counties appear in the top five – Cleveland, Northumbria, and South Yorkshire, each reporting over 1,300 thefts during the same period.

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In sixth to 10th place are areas covering the Midlands, with Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire police areas ranking seventh, eighth and 10th.

Grossi said: “When it comes to protecting your home’s exterior and deterring building material thieves, there are a few options – one of the most effective would be an alarm and CCTV system.

“Not only can these put off any potential thieves, but the footage can add a great deal of clarity when reporting the crime.

“Naturally, this may not be a preferred method by many, especially if you only have a small amount of copper or lead on your roof.”

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Grossi said a cheaper alternative is a dummy camera, but experienced burglars can often spot them.

Roofing Megastore said dusk till dawn lighting can also ward off potential thieves, and motion sensors are ‘a sound investment’, with infra-red sensors switching on lights only when needed ‘keeping costs low’.

Grossi said: “To aid in the effectiveness of these lights, you should also take care to keep trees and other vegetation cut back, maximising your natural surveillance.”

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Within Lancashire, Preston, Burnley and Nelson are the top three cities where building material thefts have been reported the most.

Within Lancashire, Preston, Burnley and Nelson are the top three cities, with almost 500 in Preston, 300 in Burnley, and just over 250 in Nelson.

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What are your thoughts on Preston’s position? Let us know in the comments below.

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