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German alliance successful in combatting metal theft

Germany – A partnership between leading German companies and recyclers has proved to be a successful tool in the fight against metal theft and will be followed up internationally.

For the three infrastructure giants Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Telekom and RWE, the campaign has led to a 40% decline in metal thefts from 3800 cases in 2011 to 2400 incidents the following year. Over the same period, more than 1500 offenders were caught by the police, reports the alliance.

Thirteen companies and business associations have joined forces in the partnership, among them the confederation of German steel recyclers BDSV, the German federal association for secondary raw materials and waste management BVSE, and the association of German metal traders VDM.

Metal traders are among the biggest victims of metal theft, claims VDM′s chief executive Ralf Schmitz. ′Every week, new cases of theft and fraud are reported, and each year hundreds of tonnes of metals are stolen, causing immense damage,′ he confirms.

The initial campaign, launched in 2012, included a package of measures such as the use of artificial DNA and an early-warning system in which members collect and exchange information relating to thefts of metal. In addition, metal traders and recyclers have been informed about the stolen material.

The companies now aim to expand their partnership internationally and develop reporting procedures across borders; Poland and Austria have been the first to join the initiative.

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