Battery Thieves Target Road Signs

Sat 11th Jun 2022

Thousands of lives could be put at risk from a new trend of stealing the batteries which power vital road signs on the UK motorway network.

The temporary road signs and traffic lights are the latest target of unscrupulous criminals who understand the value of the batteries and are able to make a quick but illegal profit by stealing them.

The problem has got so bad that the British Metal Recycling Association (BMRA) has issued an appeal to its members to be on the lookout for anyone trying to sell the distinctive looking batteries. But major motoring organisations are also concerned about the potential harm to motorists.

“It’s extremely worrying that batteries are being stolen from important temporary digital signs and traffic lights as this puts lives at risk,” said Simon Williams, road safety spokesman for the RAC.

“These signs are there to protect road workers, drivers and other road users from potential collisions, so the fact many are being put out of order because of criminality is unbelievably dangerous.”

The BMRA are now working with the police to help identify any of the stolen batteries and have posted pictures to all their members to be on alert.

A spokeswoman for the British Metals Recycling Association said: "BMRA works very closely with the police services to help to interrupt criminal activity when it comes to all types of metal theft.

"The likely reason for their theft is either reuse or for the value found in the metals contained within the batteries such as lead.

"We run a metal theft alert service whereby we provide members with full details of the theft, including a picture of the stolen items.”