Copper pipes and cables thefts – what you need to know

​Recent LGIS claims show an increase in the theft of copper pipes and cables. Over the past 12 – 18 months, these thefts have been widespread, and systematic; targeting local government assets and state government utilities across Western Australia.

On the LGIS front
Over 29 claims have been lodged so far, with payments over $1,000,000.  This is for reported property claims only and isn't inclusive of claims which have not been reported or are under the property protection policy deductible.  The majority of local governments targeted are in the metropolitan region.  

With the frequency of claims rising, so too is the cost and the risk to your communities, with exposed live wires often left behind.

What are we seeing?

  • Majority of claims occur over weekends, during early hours of the morning
  • Targeted areas include playing fields, reserves, sporting venues, and light towers
  • Removing pit lids – cables are cut and dragged out by a vehicle
  • Live wires are left behind
  • Areas are being hit multiple times, with the same method of operation

Regulation
Through working with other utilities, consistency in reporting, and obtaining CCTV footage, the police have made some arrests.  They are also working on changing the legislation around the sale of copper through scrap metal dealers.  This is a work in progress.

Things to consider in the meantime

  • Can copper pipes be replaced by galvanised iron?
  • Can pit lids be better secured?
  • Can the pit lids be changed to steel?
  • Can CCTV be put on a standalone feed so it is not taken down when power is disrupted by removal of cables?
  • Can you increase surveillance of targeted areas?
  • Sharing information with other local governments in your area.
  • Advising your contractors/ staff of this issue and encourage vigilance.

What you need to do

  • Report loss immediately to the police (to keep reporting consistent, contact us for a suggested pro forma).
  • Do not remove or touch any implements which may have been used in the crime – e.g. spanner, open padlocks etc. – Police obtain fingerprints from these.
  • Keep CCTV footage, even if it is not clear. 
  • If the incident is a claim, please report to LGIS.
  • Keep a record of all incidents.

Information sharing sessions
We are arranging an information session with the WA Police and Western Power to share some tips and advice on how you can mitigate your loss and protect your assets and community. Please register your interest if you would like more information about this session.