Police in Ards and North Down are encouraging property developers and new-build site owners to ensure homes are kept secure at all times, to avoid potential break-ins and valuable materials being stolen as we approach the darker evenings.

With increased reports across the UK of burglaries where copper piping and hot water tanks have been stolen from new-build development sites, police want to ensure this does not become a common theme across housing development sites in Ards and North Down.
Chief Inspector McGrattan said: “It’s believed that new-build properties that are easily accessible are being targeted so that the copper can be sold on, due to the high price of scrap metal.
“For thieves, a new-build development site is a playground with many houses being far from secure, and burglaries such as these can have a huge impact on the sites, particularly if the hot water system is connected when the copper piping and tanks are being removed. This could lead to extensive water damage.

“Burglaries such as these will have a knock-on effect for the completion of new-build houses and the timeframe agreed with all of those involved in the process – an unnecessary headache that can be avoided if the appropriate safety measures are established.”

Here are some helpful security measures to ensure your site is protected:

  • Consider the perimeter security of the site and wherever possible erect solid fencing and gates, particularly in areas where machinery and high-value goods are kept.
  • Have good quality notifying, motion activated CCTV to advise if there are intruders on site. If possible, install cameras at points where notification is provided early before vehicles or items are put at risk.
  • Have good security on any container storage – if there is power then look into an alarm system with a loud siren.
  • Fit trackers to vehicles and wherever possible, park in a secure area, preferably covered by CCTV. Whilst time consuming, consider blocking desirable plants with careful parking of vehicles out of hours.
  • If your site is close to other housing, speak to those living within the vicinity and ask them to look out for unexpected workmen and report individuals being around at unexpected times – they could be your eyes and ears!

It’s important that anyone who sees anyone acting suspiciously in or around new building sites, or is aware of copper piping and water tanks being sold online that does not look legitimate, to make contact with police on 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.