Number 5: Heritage Crime

For over 5,000 years, humans have been working with metals to create body adornments, tools, weapons and, in more recent times, as a key component in the construction of buildings and structures. Metal has helped to shape the world around us.

Our ancestors understood the qualities and capabilities of each type of metal. Gold would never tarnish; copper blended with tin would produce a robust alloy which we now call bronze; and lead was found to be the ideal material for forming pipework and impervious roofs.

This ancient continuum is now threatened by a new world problem, namely the theft of metal.

In seeking to identify solutions to this problem, a range of changes have been made to legislation, policy and law enforcement tactics.

In this debate, we have asked our guest contributors to answer three specific questions:

  • How can we build upon the recent successes in tackling metal theft from protected heritage sites and buildings?
  • How can we work with communities to reduce the theft of metal from historic sites and buildings?
  • What research and innovation is required to prevent and investigate the theft of heritage metal?

Their collective thoughts and insight have detailed the new and innovative approaches that will be required to address the problem and will help shape and influence the preventative and investigative methods and protection of assets for future generations.