Skip to content
Return to News & Views

Illegal handling/scrapping of Calor Gas cylinders

Illegal handling/scrapping of Calor Gas cylinders
Illegal handling, conversion, scrapping, filling and trading of Calor LPG cylinders is unlawful. 

Calor Gas Limited cylinders are and remain the property of Calor Gas Limited at all times and are clearly marked to that effect by stencilling, embossing and by means of data plates

Illegal handling

Only persons duly authorised by the company are entitled to be in possession of such cylinders. Authorisation includes those who have entered into a contract with the company either as dealers or retailers, or as end users. No other party has any authority to handle, deal in, dispose of or sell Calor cylinders.

Gas (LPG – either butane or propane) is supplied to end users in such cylinders, but the cylinder must be returned to Calor Gas Limited either direct or through one of our authorised outlets when the cylinder is no longer required.

There is significant legal precedent confirming Calor Gas Limited’s title in and right to control its cylinders at all times against third parties handling Calor cylinders without permission.

Furthermore there are tightly controlled systems and environments for the purposes of emptying or dismantling LPG cylinders, regulated by the Health and safety Executive. Even a nominally empty cylinder will contain product and represent a hazard to anyone involved in removing valves or cutting up the cylinder.

The issues

• Unlawful scrapping – We are aware of a number of scrap metal operations who are actively taking in our cylinders, cutting them up and them selling them on as scrap. The cylinders are valuable because they are made of steel and have brass fittings. This activity is unlawful and can result in prosecution.

• Unlawful export – We have exposed concerted and organised criminal efforts to obtain cylinders and then export them en masse, in containers, to countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. This activity is unlawful and can result in prosecution.

• Conversion – We are aware of instances of Calor cylinders being converted into wood burning stoves, bbqs and other such appliances. Any unauthorised person emptying or dismantling a Calor LPG cylinder is both acting unlawfully and irresponsibly, and is putting themselves and others at risk of serious injury or even death. Calor will report all such instances to the Police as this is theft of its property.

• Unlawful filling – There have been some instances of people unlawfully filling Calor cylinders. Any unauthorised person filling Calor gas cylinders is both acting unlawfully and irresponsibly and is putting themselves and members of the public at risk of serious injury or even death. Calor has taken successful court action against individuals for such unauthorised filling.

• Unlawful trading – From time to time we become aware of dealers who are not authorised to trade in Calor cylinders but do so. The integrity of the cylinders cannot be guaranteed and Calor has no control over compliance with health and safety matters such as safe storage in such circumstances. Calor regularly takes action against individuals and dealers for the unauthorised handling of its cylinders, including taking actions through the courts if required and the courts have recently upheld Calor’s right to do so.

We are currently actively working with the UK Government, the police and the scrap metal industry to prevent the theft and illegal handling, conversion, scrapping, filling and trading of Calor cylinders.

Calor has placed more than 10 million cylinders on to the British market with a replacement value of well over £200 million. Each year Calor invests between £10m and £11m putting new cylinders into circulation and maintaining the existing fleet. This is a significant investment. Calor takes the misuse and unauthorised handling of our cylinders extremely seriously and will take action as necessary, in conjunction with the Police and relevant authorities.

What to do if you are a business who is offered Calor cylinders but is not authorised to handle them?

The unauthorised handling of Calor cylinders is unlawful and, particularly if you handle them as part of your business, could result in legal action being taken against you by Calor Gas Ltd. As a business you may also be open to prosecution under Health & Safety Law. If you are (or have been) offered Calor cylinders by someone who is not authorised to do so please call Calor Gas Ltd (contact Mark Hobday) on 01926 318619.

The wider LPG Industry

The LPG industry, via its trade body UKLPG, has noted a rise in the number of cylinders not being returned, and instead being sold for scrap or disposed as waste. The industry estimates that metal theft for illegal scrapping or export runs at around 1% of the cylinder population per annum. The 200,000 or so cylinders that are misappropriated come at a replacement value to the industry of approximately £9 million.