Thefts of metal gates and other steel items are on the rise across the UK, new figures show.

Over the past 12 months, there has been a significant increase in the number of metal thefts, due in part to the rise in prices of metals such as lead and copper, reports BBC News.

The price rise has been attributed to an increase in demand for metal from booming economies around the world - most notably that of China.

According to Network Rail, there was a 52 per cent increase in the number of metal thefts between April 2010 and April this year, with such thefts resulting in 6,088 hours of train delays last year.

A spokesman for British Transport Police told BBC News: "The number of thefts is huge. It is our biggest crime problem in terms of frequency and our biggest challenge after counter-terrorism."

This week, train operator Nexus, which runs the Metro transport system in Tyne and Wear, called for new regulation of scrap yards in order to combat the spate of metal thefts across the country.

Contact us for a security fencing quote  ADNFCR-3337-ID-800742968-ADNFCR