Operation Precious is a multi-agency Forcewide operation to tackle metal theft. It aims to reduce the opportunity for thieves to sell on or dispose of stolen metal items.
This is done by urging local, licensed scrap metal dealers and vehicle dismantlers to turn away and report any attempts to sell them stolen metal. All participating dealers are licensed by their local authorities. Operation Precious is sponsored by SelectaDNA (opens new window).
As part of Operation Precious:
- Neighbourhood Policing teams are equipped with an ultra-violet light source to search for any forensically-marked items such as lead from church roofs. This has been made possible by SelectaDNA.
- Each dealer participating in Operation Precious has two signs which advertise their involvement in the operation and high-visibility jackets for their staff to wear. These have been funded by SelectaDNA.
- Neighbourhood Policing teams, alongside local agencies, regularly inspect scrap metal and vehicle dismantler sites.
Operation Precious is proving to be effective. However, there is no room for complacency. We are taking every step to reduce the impact of metal theft offences upon our neighbourhoods.
There is an increased risk of metal theft happening wherever metals are present. Non-ferrous metals such as lead, copper and silver are likely to have a high value and are, therefore, a target for thieves. Metal thieves sometimes pose as builders 'legitimately' working on property.
In recent years, the following metal has been stolen in Thames Valley:
- Lead, copper and stainless steel roof coverings.
- Bay window roofs and roof flashings.
- Copper lightning conductors.
- Lead and copper rainwater pipes.
- Bronze statues.
- Metal garden ornaments.
- Iron gates.
- Church bells.
How to report metal theft
- Call 999 if the crime is in progress.
- Otherwise, 101, the 24-hour Thames Valley Police non-emergency number.
- If you don’t want to speak to police or give your name, please call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.