17 June 2016
Boiler thefts from council houses in Sheffield have reduced by 70 per cent as a result of joint council and police action.
In 2013 Sheffield City Council reported that 209 central heating boilers had been stolen from vacant council homes costing £287,000 to replace.
Now figures show that thefts dropped to 68 last year. All council boilers are now traceable and the council and South Yorkshire Police have worked together to carry out a number of sting-operations at so called ‘flat traps’ to catch thieves in the act.
Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for housing at Sheffield City Council, said: “Boiler thefts have been a significant problem and cost to the council. We’ve worked hard with the police and local communities to deter them.
“All boilers are now traceable and anyone found stealing, handling or fitting a stolen boiler will be reported to the police.
“The reduction in thefts means more money can be spent people’s homes rather than replacing stolen goods. We will continue to work closely together to continue to combat boiler theft.”
Boilers in the ‘flat traps’ are fitted with special equipment to allow the thieves to be caught quickly.
Dene Tinker, Crime Reduction Officer for South Yorkshire Police, said: “Anyone entering one of the trap flats will not have known the equipment is there and that police have already been alerted and are responding.
“Offenders and handlers talk and the word soon gets around so it’s hoped the use of the trap flats will act as a deterrent to prolific criminals.
“There are serious safety implications whenever anyone removes a boiler under these circumstances, especially for the neighbouring properties and if it is illegally installed elsewhere.”
Anyone found fitting stolen boilers is investigated by the police and also reported to ‘Gas Safe’ officials. The Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on gas appliances in the UK. Registering with Gas Safe Register is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out gas work.
Anyone with information about boiler thefts is asked to call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.