VPS: Heritage Crime costs UK £300 million a year - second only to drug dealing

The Security of Heritage Properties – A New Guide Issued by the BSIA

LONDON--()--Saving Britain’s Legacies

VPS, the market leaders in protecting vacant properties, welcomes the guide to help protect heritage properties (http://www.bsia.co.uk/app/images/publications/188-security-of-heritage-property-guide.pdf) published by the British Security Industry Association (http://www.bsia.co.uk/) (the BSIA).

Simon Alderson , Development Director of VPS and also the chairman of the BSIA’s Vacant Property Protection group (http://www.bsia.co.uk/home/vacant-property-code-of-practice) explains: “Heritage sites are often remote and packed with materials that can attract crime - lead roofs, copper piping, old libraries. It sounds like something from a Cluedo set, but for the few pounds thieves may obtain from selling stolen metals, they can cause tens of thousands of pounds of damage. Plus vacant sites are also targets for illegal raves and squats”

ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers, issued an assessment last year with the Museums Association (http://www.museumsassociation.org/download?id=1038797) reporting that profits from the theft of art and antiques by organised gangs total over £300m a year in the UK - second only to drug dealing.

The report also gave an example of metal theft: in July 2012, Henry Moore’s ‘Sundial’ sculpture from the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, Hertfordshire was stolen - a nationally significant work of art worth £500,000, later sold to a scrap metal dealer for £46.50.

“The Security of Heritage Property guide is a detailed review of how to assess the risks and the options to mitigate them. As well tapping into VPS’ experience in securing vacant heritage sites, it draws on the assistance of insurance companies such as Zurich, and the English Heritage’s own report, including their table of 25 Techniques on Heritage Crime Prevention (http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/heritage-crime-prevention-guide).” says Mr Alderson. “In short, this guide is about saving Britain’s heritage legacies.”

Heritage security: where tradition and technology meet

The VPS case study included in the guide highlights a remote heritage site owned by a charity. The task was to preserve the integrity of the site building and associated building fabrics that are of potential value (e.g. approx. £500,000 lead roof) to maintain its saleable condition. This also serves to minimise the public relations impact from and likelihood that public liability damages will be sought by those entering the site and suffering injury, serious injury or death, whatever the purpose of their presence.

After carrying out a risk assessment, VPS recommended a range of security measures, employing technological advances such as SmartAlarms, special sensors which operate without any external power supply, and their latest app, the Inspection IQ, (http://www.vpspecialists.co.uk/news/press-releases/vps-inspection-iq/) which works hand-in-hand with more traditional manned guarding services.

“Security measures have moved on in leaps and bounds over the last decade, and the range of solutions available are, particularly appropriate for heritage sites, where tradition and technology meet. These amazing properties built without consideration for modern criminal behaviour, can be protected so Britain’s legacy will live on.” Alderson concludes.

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About the VPS Group:

VPS partner the largest insurance companies and site asset managers in the country, providing initial risk assessment, security, guarding, monitoring, clearing, cleaning, maintenance and preparation. These services protect properties against unauthorised access and a variety of hazards such as arson, theft, squatting and unauthorised occupation.


In May, the VPS SmartTower CCTV was selected for the U.S. Government Security Platinum Award (https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/security-products-announces-platinum-gold-140200622.html) for Perimeter Security, alongside technology giants Samsung, Honeywell Security and BlackBerry (http://bizblog.blackberry.com/2014/05/blackberry-govies/).

In June, VPS launched Inspection IQ (http://www.vpspecialists.co.uk/news/press-releases/vps-inspection-iq/), an app that will allow totally traceable inspections for landlords, site owners and facilities managers.

At any one time, VPS (http://www.vpsgroup.com/) secure more than 50,000 properties and sites, and employ over 1600 staff in locations across the UK and mainland Europe. They specialise in securing, maintaining and managing vacant property across a wide range of customer and industry sectors.

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Graham Sievers
Mobile phone 44(0)77 222 82 946


Graham Sievers
Mobile phone 44(0)77 222 82 946