DOZENS of old car batteries were stolen when scrap metal thieves swooped on a tip.
More than 25 batteries were taken from Droitwich Household Waste site in Hanbury Road on Sunday, January 9.
This followed a theft early in November of a similar number, although the police are not linking the crimes.
Scrap values for the lead plates and other metals in car batteries mean they can fetch up to £5 with the value of the latest theft worth about £75.
The following day, on Monday, a small amount of petty cash was taken from the Droitwich tip when thieves broke in through the site office’s roof. Severn Waste, which operates the site and several others in the county, said it was working closely with the police.
West Mercia Police say scrap thefts were a continuing problem for Worcestershire and the wider region.
“We are putting targeted patrols on the tip site,” said Inspector Sean Kent, inspector for Wychavon.
“But there’s an ongoing issue with metal being stolen for scrap and increasingly rare earths, any kind of material whose market value is rising because of diminishing global stocks – things like high-grade silicon.
“It’s a continuing problem but we’ve had arrests and we’ve had successes.”
Experts at Sabrina Motors in Hylton Road, Worcester, said scrap demand for batteries was high.
“Last week an average car battery was worth between about £3 and £5 per unit,” said a spokesman. “It’s the lead and other metals in them that attract the value.
“But the local scrap collector comes around regularly asking us at the garage if we have any car batteries – they’re popular.”
Ian Barber, a director with Severn Waste, said security would be tightened following the break-ins.
“We are looking at installing cameras at more of our sites to act as a deterrent, after recent success with them at our Stourport site,” he said. “We have had batteries stolen from other sites but these are few and far between.”
He said the household waste site in Bilford Road, Worcester, was particularly susceptible to vandalism but police had arrested two people on the site in two separate incidents during January.
Anyone with information about the Droitwich thefts should call officers on 03003 333000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.