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· Copper theft is thought to have been the cause of the demolition of a bungalow in Bradford on 22 May 2007. The unoccupied house exploded after copper gas pipes on the outer walls were fractured, apparently by someone trying to rip them out. Police were reported to be looking for two boys, aged 10 and 11, in relation to the explosion.
· Copper theft caused more than 240,000 minutes of delays for train passengers in 2006 after a near fivefold rise in robberies at tracks and depots. On 21 November 2007 cable theft caused rush hour chaos as 71 trains were cancelled due to the theft in Greater Manchester. British Transport Police claim that: ‘after the threat of terrorism, the theft of cable is one of BTP’s biggest challenges’.
· In January 2006, The Three Watchers, a bronze sculpture, was stolen from Roehampton University’s campus. The sculpture’s value as art was £300,000, but police fear that it was stolen for its scrap metal value, a mere £1000.
· Such is the demand that (pre-1992 edition) 2p pieces are more valuable if they are melted down for their 97 per cent copper content. The Royal Mint estimates that there are more than eight billion pre-1992 1p and 2p coins still in circulation.
· The impact upon churches has been particularly pronounced, and the reaction of their main insurer, Ecclesiastical Group, particularly prominent. Ecclesiastical spokesman Chris Pitt has said: ‘The problem of theft of metal from churches is nothing short of an epidemic. We’ve never seen a trend of theft which is so widespread and taken hold so quickly’. Claims statistics from Ecclesiastical (who insure over 95 per cent of Anglican churches in the United Kingdom) show claims for metal theft rising from £300,000 (85 claims) for the whole of 2005 to £7.6million (2200 claims) for the first nine months of 2007.