The Scottish government is launching an initiative to clamp down on criminals stealing metal after a series of railings thefts.

With the price of metal continuing to soar it is becoming a very lucrative commodity. Schools and churches around Scotland have been severely affected with STV reporting that thieves are targeting lead piping, power cables, railings and even manhole covers.

In the city of Edinburgh alone an estimated £177,000 worth of damage was inflicted on schools and public buildings over the summer as the buildings were plundered for lead and copper piping.

Councillor Phil Wheeler, governor of the city council's Finance and Resources committee, said the wave of thefts was a "threat to the city's finances" which couldn’t continue.

Police in the area plan to tackle the issue by carrying out roadside checks to investigate vehicles suspected of transporting stolen goods as well as visiting scrap metal dealers to speak to owners about what to look for when people bring metal into their yards.

Scotland is not the only region being targeted as the government has announced a £5 million national taskforce to combat the "epidemic" of metal thefts across the country.

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