The soaring price of lead should fundamentally change the way British businesses look after their industrial batteries, according to an expert in the field.
Over the past decade the price of new lead has nearly tripled, from around £300 per tonne to more than £900, which has resulted in a rise in the number of metal thefts; in 2011 church insurers reported more than 2,500 claims for stolen roof lead.
Derek Anderson, managing director for PowerCell Industrial Battery Engineers said: "Less widely recognised is the potential impact of increasing lead prices on any businesses that depends on electric forklifts and battery-powered warehouse trucks.
"Any piece of battery-operated equipment could be carrying an asset that has risen significantly in value. But when it comes to protecting that investment, many businesses simply carry on as they always have.
"At Powercell, we recommend that anyone using an industrial battery review their procedures as a safeguard."
Churches, sculptures and railway lines are not the only targets for metal thieves. Just last year, the Fork Lift Truck Association issued a warning after a spate of traction battery thefts.
In many cases, criminals gained access during the daytime by pretending to be engineers; sometimes even being given assistance to load valuable batteries onto their van, before driving away, never to be seen again.
Derek said: "There’s no need to go overboard, but be sensible. Your batteries are valuable, so make sure they are kept somewhere secure. And, of course, don’t let anyone take them away without proper identification.
"Any reputable battery service engineer should be wearing a company uniform and be easily identifiable, carry documentation and be perfectly happy for you to call their office for confirmation if you have any doubts."