Police action and the introduction of a system of cashless payment for scrap metal helped to cut metal thefts in Yorkshire by almost two fifths in 2012.
But, fears are rising criminals will find new ways of selling stolen material, according to the Sheffield-based Business Crime Reduction Centre.
“Metal theft is an extremely serious crime,” said centre director David Ransom at a major conference on metal theft, organised by the centre and attended by law enforcement agencies and leading businesses
He said: “Not only does it cause significant financial losses to local businesses but it can also lead to serious injury and death.
“The recent crackdowns have seen crime figures reduce but there is still more to do,” he added
The conference was held in Doncaster and included more than 100 delegates from the Yorkshire region among its attendees.
Keynote speaker, South Yorkshire chief constable David Crompton outlined the local, regional and national impact of metal theft to businesses and communities. Other speakers included representatives from the Home Office, British Metals Recycling Association, British Transport Police, BT, UK Border Force and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
The event aimed to raise awareness of the future threats metal theft poses to small and medium-sized businesses and covered issues including the impact of market forces and new legislation, the international nature of metal theft, technical solutions and working in partnership with the police to prevent thefts.
It also identified other vulnerable commodities and security threats.
For more information on the work of the Business Crime Reduction Centre, visit www.bcrc-uk.org