SDLP Assembly Member for East Derry John Dallat has condemned those responsible for stealing lead from two schools in Kilrea as well as a catalogue of other thefts of metals throughout East Derry.
The MLA is calling for changes in the law regarding scrap metal merchants in order to make it more difficult for thieves to profit from the crime.
Mr Dallat wants to see a change in the law which would make it more difficult for thieves to exchange metal for cash and would force scrap merchants to pay for metal via a bank account.
He said: “Metal thefts are becoming a major problem in across the North but particularly in East Derry with incidences affecting not only our schools estate but also our telecommunications services, transport safety and our railway heritage.
“Sadly there is a clear pattern of metal theft stories in the news on a daily basis.
“We need to realise that the illegal trade of metal does not affect just one or two individuals but entire communities.”
Mr Dallat recently met community police officers for the rural areas in Stormont where they were attending an event organised by the Minister for Justice for the express purpose of addressing this epidemic.
“I wished them well and sincerely hope they get the support from the assembly they need to make the law a lot more robust.
“The Assembly needs to step in and change legislation to make it more difficult for thieves to make money from this trade.”