Skip to content

Lead & Copper Theft (323A/22)


I’d like to request the number of reports of theft where lead and/or copper materials have been stolen from the time period 2017 to 2022 (or if 2022 data is not available then data from 2017 – 2021 would be great).

Please could you also show the town/city where the theft has taken place, and the type of building or site that the material was stolen from (eg. a church, residential property, construction site).

Finally, in each reported case please advise whether any arrests were made and if so, whether there were any prosecutions.


Unfortunately, our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide all of this information within the appropriate (cost) limit of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).

However, although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (see attached file 323A_22_attachment.xlxs). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.


Our custody system is not linked to our crime system, therefore in order to determine the number of arrests in relation to lead/copper theft and the number of prosecutions, we would need to manually review each individual case. Such a search would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12). Additionally, due to a change in our crime recording systems, data are only available up to 31 March 2021 without undertaking a manual review of all theft offences from April 2021.

This means that the cost of compliance with the whole of your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here: