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Effective answer to scrap metal crime wave

In response to the huge increase in the theft of scrap metal, wireless security specialists Tag Guard Ltd have developed a purpose-designed solution that could become a major deterrent.

Ecclesiastical & Heritage World Tag Guards3 June 2010 – The savvy thief today keeps an eye on commodity prices and scrap metal values. With the recent sharp increase in scrap metal prices, fuelled by strong global demand, incidents of theft are also on the rise. Lead is one of the prime pickings – the rocketing price of lead means that thieves are targeting older buildings up and down the country. And last month sculptures were stolen from Edenbridge Gardens in Kent – proving that almost anything with a scrap metal value is vulnerable.

Lead from the roofs of churches is proving a key target for thieves – a recent example being Stoke Minster Church where more than £13,000 worth of lead was stolen. It’s not just churches that are at risk; railway buildings, schools, stately homes and even residential properties are at risk. Traditional security measures are not really suitable for this type of application because standard external detectors on roofed areas will false alarm in the presence of seagulls, pigeons and other wildlife and the cost of installing a conventional cable-linked alarm system, given the large roof areas that might have to be covered, can be prohibitively expensive.

Wireless security specialists Tag Guard have a proven solution with a purpose-designed security system developed specifically to combat the lead crime wave. The system, called ‘Lead Protect’, comprises a detection cable which is secured to leaded areas with a weather resistant, externally rated adhesive. Each zone, typically between 50 and 100 metres in length, terminates in a small wireless transmitter that sends its signals to a base station installed inside the church or any other building to be protected. Should any part of the cable be moved or tampered with, which would occur if a thief attempted to remove the lead, it would activate the TagAlarm system inside the building. Tag Guard’s own central monitoring station, which is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, monitors all alarm activity within seconds. There an operator can see from the computer screen the location of the building and even the exact area on the roof which is being attacked.

On receipt of the alarm the action usually taken by Tag Guard is to notify a private security firm to immediately investigate. If a crime is verified the Police may be asked to respond and make the arrest, which has happened several times in the last few weeks.

The system can only be activated when the detection cable is physically disturbed and therefore will not false alarm. The entire system is wireless based so it does not need a telephone line or any other hard-wired external communication. This also makes it relatively easy and quick to install.

Tag Guard say each system is unique to the building so they will carry out a survey and then produce a specification with quotation. Long-term contracts including full maintenance and support for the system are normal, providing the most effective and affordable means of combating this crime wave.

Tag Guard is one of the UK’s leading specialists in wireless security systems for buildings and construction sites.