How to Prevent Lead Theft from your Property
Lead theft has been on the rise in the last few years as thieves take the opportunity to cash in on the high price of copper and lead.
These prices have risen in line with increased demand from China, and as a result public buildings like churches, charities and schools. Often the cost of the theft can total many thousands of pounds, but the damage that’s left to the buildings themselves pushes up the cost of this even higher, from flooding due to roof damage for example. And the damage that is caused makes these buildings even more vulnerable to the weather in the future.
Property owners are looking for ways to foil the lead thieves but sometimes this can be difficult as some of these gangs of lead thieves come prepared with equipment to make theft from your roof as easy as possible. They often do their homework and they’re always determined to take away the haul they came for.
The problem for many of these property owners is that as well as paying for roof repairs, they are often left with the bill for the lead because insurance policies may not cover theft from the roof because there has been on forcible break-in inside the property. If there is lead on your roof, it’s often worth speaking to your insurer to make sure you have the right cover.
That said, there are ways that you can limit the possibility of lead theft from your roof. Lead theft often occurs during holidays and during the summertime, when public buildings may be closed.
Of course, you can’t be expected to sit and watch your home yourself, but getting CCTV installed is an option. It may or may not deter the thieves, but at least you would have something to present to the police and this may help your insurance claim.
You should make sure that your building is as secure as possible at the perimeter. If you have gates, keep them locked up over night. Security lighting is another option. These will illuminate your property and may deter theft. There are also alarm systems you can buy that can be installed on the rooftop as well as the inside of your property.
Keep the outside of your property clear of objects that could actually end up helping the thieves. Keep your garage locked up and tools and ladders safely locked away. Even wheelie bins could be used by thieves to access the roof, so keep them out of the way and the same applies to wheel barrows – anything that could give thieves a hand up to your roof. Unfortunately tall trees could even be used by lead thieves to climb up to your roof but there may be little you can do about this.
You can, however, apply an anti-climb paint to your gutters that will make it more difficult for the thieves. This should be painted on drain pipes and gutters.
Making sure that your roof has no damage is a good way to keep your property safe. A roof that is secure and has no damage will make it more difficult for thieves. You should aim to check your roof every season, just to make sure that all is well. You can do a quick inspection from the ground, using binoculars if necessary.
Finally, it’s always worth being on good terms with your neighbours. They will be more willing to help out and keep an eye on your property, which is good for the times when you’re not around to keep an eye on things.
If your roof is targeted by thieves, you have to act quickly to minimise the damage but sometimes you may not even notice that lead has been taken from your roof until it rains and you’re faced with flooding inside the property.
If this happens, the first thing you’ll notice is water running into the interior. Deal with this promptly by covering your possessions with plastic sheets. Make sure that there is no risk of water reaching the electrics – if you think this may be a problem, secure the building and call out a qualified electrician immediately.
Call out an emergency roofer to assess the damage. You need to get the roof fixed straight away – lead thieves may even come back to finish the job if they haven’t been able to take all the lead in one go. Don’t just assume that because it’s already happened that the lead thieves won’t target your property again.
Also, the damage to the roof can lead to other problems with the structure of your building, especially if water is allowed to sink through to the foundations of the building. So getting your roof repaired should be a priority.
Call the police too. You’ll need a crime number when you inform your insurance firm about what’s happened.
If you need roof repairs, call a reliable roofer for a quote. G&A Roofing and Building offer emergency roof repairs and other maintenance work to ensure that your roof is safe, secure and keeping your property free from flooding.
At G&A, each roofer is fully trained and can provide a range of professional roofing services, including roof reports and surveys, roof replacement, gutter maintenance, chimney repairs and general repairs. Contact a roofer for help today on 0800 626430.