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Scrap metal attracting thieves to Brighton
Lead thieves are moving to Brighton and Hove in their search for illegal scrap.
Police in city say they are beginning to experience theft of lead on a similar scale to rural areas of Sussex for the first time.
Garages in Barrow Close, Moulsecoomb, have been targeted this week, while Downs Infant School in Ditchling Road and Hertford Infant School in Hertford Road have also had lead stolen.
Police in central Brighton said they received three reports last week.
Inspector Bill Whitehead said people should watch out for people appearing to work on roofs, especially after normal working hours.
He said: “If you have got lead on your roof, beware, somebody is out there stealing it.”
He said every scrap metal dealer in the city had signed up to measures under the police’s anti-theft initiative Operation Tornado to ensure people selling scrap have to identify themselves.
As a result, it is thought the thieves are having to go further afield to make good on their hauls.
Insp Whitehead said: “It does seem to be that whoever is stealing it is reusing it or taking it out of town.”
Metal theft has been a common feature of police work across the county in recent years because of rising commodity prices.
There were 40 lead thefts from church roofs in Sussex in 2011, according to church insurers Ecclesiastical.
Railway lines have also been hit by thefts of copper cables. In September last year two thefts led to the cancellation of 222 Southern trains.
Precious metals found in catalytic converters have also been the motivation for thefts from vans.
But until recently lead has not been a common target in the Brighton and Hove area.
Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call Sussex Police on 101.
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