It was good to see some more coverage on the news today about the problems of metal theft. Churches are well-acquainted with this, with rising number of thefts of roof lead and the consequential damage and rising insurance costs.
However, it's not just a problem for churches. Other public buildings have also suffered, war memorials have been vandalised, commemorative plaques have been removed from cemeteries, and the ongoing transport disruption resulting from theft of cables from railways affects many people. The tragedy is that replacing the items stolen costs far more than the scrap value received for the metal.
One simple step to make life more difficult for the thieves is to make all money transactions for scrap cashless. This means that there is an audit trail for payments made for metal, which makes transactions relating to stolen metal more traceable. It won't solve the problem, but it should mean that such thefts are no longer such easy money.
It looks like government may act, either by supporting a Private Members Bill relating to this issue or by introducing its own legislation. If you would like to encourage this move, you can add your support via an online petition on the government website.