There are several measures which can be considered to deter metal theft attacks and they should be viewed as part of an integrated approach to deterring this type of crime. A recent initiative introduced by the Church of Scotland Insurance Company Ltd (COSIC) includes an arrangement with SmartWater Technology Ltd for all Church Scheme Policyholders to receive upon request a "Starter Kit" to forensically mark metals at the Church. The kit contains a supply of forensic solution and deterrent signage, the costs of the annual license fee are also included. Over 500 Churches have already registered with SmartWater for this.

The range of measures include:

  1. Make theft more difficult by removing any easy access to building roofs such as water butts, waste bins and tall trees located near to the building. Remember to get any necessary approval for tree cutting eg from the local authority before works starts.
  2. Store ladders in a secure place.
  3. Keep any gates locked and restrict vehicular access to the site. Remove any easy means of transporting stolen goods such as wheelbarrows and wheelie bins to a secure place.
  4. Maximise surveillance levels, including cutting back tall trees and vegetation which could otherwise provide a screen to hide criminal activities. Remember to get any necessary approval for tree cutting.
  5. Carry out regular checks of roofs so any theft of roofing materials is discovered before it rains and water enters the building causing further damage
  6. Encourage members of the local community to keep a vigilant eye on the building and to report any suspicious activity, particularly the unexpected arrival of workmen at the property immediately to the police. This could include displaying a warning notice asking the public to contact the police if they see vans or workmen around the building between 6pm and 8am.
  7. Apply anti climb paint to drain pipes and roof guttering to restrict access to roofing. The paint should not be applied below a height of 2 metres and warning notices should be displayed prominently.
  8. Protect the lower section of lightning conductor ribbons using a metal cage or sheath securely fixed to the building fabric.
  9. Consider installing security lighting, particularly at roof level where metal roof coverings are present. Check if consent is needed to do this.
  10. Security mark metal within the fabric of the building using "SmartWater Technology," a security marking product which forensically links thieves to crime scenes. It is being successfully used to combat the theft of metals. SmartWater can be used on properties exposed to the elements such as lead roofs without degradation of the marking and doesn't damage items to which it is applied. For further details please read the SmartWater website (at The Church of Scotland Insurance Company has a special agreement with SmartWater Technolgy whereby Church Scheme Policyholders can upon request receive a free starter kit containing: forensic solution, deterrent signage and the cost of the annual license fee.
  11. Consider installing CCTV.
  12. Consider installing an intruder alarm protection to external roof areas
  13. Consider precautions when erecting scaffolding