» Calor seriously affected by epidemic of metal theft
Last year, 200,000 gas cylinders were stolen across the UK by scrap metal thieves, at a cost to the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry of £9 million. Calor Gas Ltd’s cylinders accounted for 50% of these thefts - 100,000 steel gas cylinders with a market value of £4.5 million.
Almost three-quarters of Calor Gas’s business comes from providing gas to homes and businesses which are off the mains supply, mostly in rural areas. Paul Blacklock, Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs at Calor Gas, which sells more than 6 million gas cylinders a year through over 12,000 UK outlets, said that the cylinders cost up to £60 each to manufacture.
“For the last 75 years we have never needed a system to track our gas cylinders, but that has changed. There is a criminal element at play here. This is beyond casual theft.
“It is these cylinders that have fallen prey to the metal-theft crime wave. It is happening in some of the most remote communities in the country.”
Calor Gas has written to the managers/proprietors (check) of 1500 scrap yards in the UK urging them not to accept the stolen steel cylinders. Even a nominally empty cylinder will contain traces of the highly flammable gas and represents a hazard to anyone involved in removing valves or cutting up the cylinder. Fires, serious injury and avoidable deaths have all been recorded.
Paul Blacklock said that some bottles have been seen in scrap yards with their bases taken off or even cut in half. And one man was recently found hitting gas cylinders with a sledgehammer in a public car park in Newark in Nottinghamshire in an attempt to remove the brass valves prior to selling the stolen cylinders.
At the start of December last year, 110 Calor Gas bottles were taken from a depot in Cardiff in what appeared to be organised raids. One gas cylinder has been spotted as far afield as Tanzania, where the company does not do business.
Notes to Editors:
Calor has been in business since 1935 and is the only energy company which supplies energy literally to the whole of the UK. Calor conducts 75%+ of its business in areas which do not have gas, supplying homes and businesses with gas in bulk (where the proprietor has a tank on their property which Calor keep topped up) or via cylinders.
It is these cylinders which have fallen prey to the current metal theft crime wave and it is these which are used by some of the most remote homes, businesses and communities in the country who use them for heating, cooking and hot water.
Calor has around 50 per cent market share and has hundreds of thousands of customers – they currently sell around 6 million cylinders every year.