Stolen lead bill could run to tens of thousands

The repair bill following a spate of lead thefts from schools, businesses and homes across the city could run to tens of thousands of pounds, a local councillor has said.

Sinn Féin colr. Tony Hassan made the comment after a rise in the number of incidents of lead being stolen in the city in recent weeks. He also said that more than 100 homes have been targeted in the Shantallow area alone.

“There have been a number of stories in the press over the past few weeks regarding the theft of lead from homes, businesses and schools in the Derry area.

“In recent day days I have become aware that over 100 Housing Executive homes have been targeted in the Greater Shantallow area.

“That’s a staggering figure for one area. To repair just one home could cost anything from £100-200,” he said. The Shantallow colr. also said the true cost of the thefts may be much higher than initially thought and could put a drain on Housing Executive resources.

“If this crime is being replicated across the city the repair bill to the Housing Executive could run into tens of thousands of pounds.

“That is something the Housing Executive cannot afford in the current economic climate and will ultimately put pressure on their annual budget,” he explained.

The Sinn Féin councillor also said he believes an organised gang is behind the thefts.

“This is just not opportunist small time thefts. It’s clear that an organised criminal gang have a plan of action in place and have a ready market for the lead,” he said.

He also called for an end to the thefts, many of which have taken place at the homes of pensioners, he said.

“I would urge the PSNI to put in place whatever resources available to apprehend whoever are behind these thefts, and if the community have any information on who is responsible they should come forward,” he added.