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£1.6 billion annual cost of theft

Rogue thieves are costing the construction industry £1.6 billion every year, new research has claimed.

CCTV security specialist, Netwatch, came to the figure after calculating crimes on sites across the UK and Ireland, and taking into account plant replacement fees, hire of replacement equipment, loss of business and increased insurance premiums.

The firm said thefts are costing businesses £75 million per year directly.

Niall Kelly, founder and technical director of Netwatch, said: “This is a major problem for the construction business. It is an absolutely astounding amount of money for the industry to be losing each year because of mindless thieves.

“You find a lot of raw metals like copper, aluminium and lead on construction sites, and the value of these materials has seen a huge rise over the past 12 months thanks to the fluctuating economy.

“With a lot of valuable plant and equipment like this on site at any given time security is an issue – more thieves are targeting sites across the UK and Ireland, particularly those which are in rural areas and far away from the main road.”

Earlier this year, researchers at Birmingham City University urged firms to tackle theft by painting their plant pink.