I am sure I don't need to tell readers what an increasingly concerning scourge metal theft has been over recent years. The impact has included disruption to hospitals, the destruction of private property, and major blackouts affecting thousands of people. It has stopped trains, brought down emergency communications systems, and who could forget the unforgivable theft of war memorials and, in particular, the memorial to the victims of the Warrington bomb?
But lives are being put at risk as well. In July last year a 16 year-old boy died in an electricity substation in an alleged cable theft. There have been eight such deaths so far this year and at least 31 injuries. Thefts are taking place all the time against our critical national energy, telecommunications and transport infrastructure.
Despite many detection initiatives the thefts continue year after year. Every day the odds increase that an innocent member of the public will be killed or seriously injured as a result of metal theft.
That is why we formed an All-Party Parliamentary Group last year to focus a campaign on dealing with the means of disposing of the stolen metal. Without somewhere to sell it to thieves will not steal it.