Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Metal Theft legislation continues to bare down on thieves

Ahead of this week’s meeting in international metal theft (containerisation) the committee of which I am co-chair have received this letter from Heinekin. Helping refresh legislation that other MP’s couldn’t reach (that’s the best I can do!). 
It is becoming clear my campaign and subsequent tough changes to the law to tackle this issue is now beginning to have a significant impact in reduction in the crime of stolen metal. Our focus has to be on refining the legislation as it plays out and tackling international metal theft.

From: David Belcher [mailto:david.belcher@heineken.co.uk]
Subject: APPG - Combating Metal Theft - 7th May

Hi Gerarda

I write to you in my position as Security Director of Keg Watch Limited - a trade association created by the UK brewing industry to combat theft and misappropriation of keg and cask assets. Keg Watch reports to the British Beer and Pubs Association (BBPA).
Reference tomorrow's meeting unfortunately I will be unable to attend after all. I have a late changed meeting date for the planning of the Heineken Cup in Cardiff tomorrow so I must travel to Cardiff. Really unfortunate because I have been working with the Port of Dover (Kent Police) who have recovered £hundreds of thousands of brewers stolen stainless steel kegs being exported to Eastern Europe. This is organised criminality and the kegs are being stolen from public houses, clubs and other licensed venues in and around London. They are taken to various self storage facilities and later a contract large foreign trunker arrives to export them. The Kent Police special unit established at the Eastern Docks at the Port of Dover has been fantastic and stopped numerous loads (e.g. 900 kegs = £67,000) leaving the UK. I have written to the Chief Constable of Kent to praise his team at Dover for their excellent work. Some of the culprits are appearing at Crown Court in early June charged with conspiracy to steal - but these defendants are just a small number where we have the evidence to proceed.

I have written to all Self Storage companies explaining the issues and to report to Keg Watch and the police anyone who stores kegs in these rented facilities. As you can imagine not all companies will be too keen to assist us and the police. In addition, we are doing all we can to communicate with all licensees and pub companies to secure and prevent their empty kegs being stolen. Many public houses and other licensed venues have real difficulty in securing empty kegs because pub cellars have notoriously inadequate cellar space which leaves them vulnerable to keg theft when left in open spaces.

We have worked hard with all UK police forces and other partners to assist with the implementation and enforcement of the Scrap Metal Act 2013. Clearly, this legislation and police action has had a significant effect on SMD's and has reduced brewers keg assets being received and disposed of in this way.  

If I can be of further assistance to your Committee and other partners please do not hesitate in contacting me.

Once again, I apologise for tomorrow's meeting.

Kind regards


           David Belcher
          Security Manager UK
          HEINEKEN UK Limited

          T        +44 (0) 131 528 1000
2-4 Broadway Park, South Gyle Broadway, Edinburgh, EH12 9JZ
United Kingdom