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Metal theft continues to cause havoc on UK's railways
Midlands firm Alcomet has been working successfully with specialist engineers in the utility sector to develop an effective solution to metal theft.
Mr James’s company Alcomet is a supplier of electrical earthing components specifically for electricity substations and has been a recognised pioneer in metal theft security solutions since 2009. He feels that the railway sector should follow the lead of the major players in the power industry.
Alcomet has been working successfully with specialist engineers representing the utility sector for years to find a solution to combat metal theft at electricity sub-stations.
In 2009 Alcomet received one of the most prestigious awards in innovative design and development, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation for its Guardian security products range. In 2011 the company was further awarded the E.ON Changing Supplier Award for People and Culture, demonstrating the success that can be achieved when a supplier and customer work collaboratively sharing one objective.
Alcomet’s Guardian security products range has been much in demand having been developed by working closely with electrical substation specialist engineers. Responding to the industry’s needs the company has been successful in producing a cost effective solution to prevent and deter copper and aluminium theft and vandalism.
Mr James said: “The problem of metal theft has blighted the utility sector for years, but as the UK’s economic climate has reached an all time low, the metal thief has become even more desperate and looking elsewhere for other opportunities including the railway sector.
“It is good news that the train operators and the Local Government Association (LGA) are responding to the problem by proposing a series of initiatives devised ultimately to clamp down on metal theft and its wider economic impact on the UK’s economy. The ban on cash payments so sellers can be traced, for example, would be a very welcome move.
“I think both the railways and the utility sector would naturally benefit from tightening controls in the scrap metal business and the traceability aspect. However, I do feel it’s a bit like ‘locking the stable door after the horse has bolted’. There are anti-theft solutions in the market place and certain power operators have benefitted by the adoption of these in terms of saving money and vastly improving site safety.
“Today’s endemic culture of cutting down on budgetary spend, in my opinion, is a false economy as the cost of replacing precious metal and the labour involved continues to escalate. The reality is that it would be impossible to stop the criminals attempting to steal metal from vulnerable sites, but we can make sure efforts to remove it are abortive.”