The dramatic decline in scrap metal thefts looks set to continue now that the Home Office and Department for Transport have agreed to provide £500,000 worth of extra funding for the National Metal Theft Taskforce.

The taskforce was launched in January 2012 when scrap metal thefts were at their peak, harming communities and local stores across the UK.

Gobinath Thambarja’s newsagents in Hayes, Middlesex, was flooded after thieves attempted to steal his water pipes, while a number of convenience stores were left unable to access the internet or complete orders following copper telephone cable thefts last year.

The latest funding will allow the taskforce to continue its programme of coordinated national days of action, which have so far resulted in more than 1,000 arrests.

Last year also saw the government introduce the Scrap Metal Dealers Act which now requires scrap metal dealers to hold licences issued by local authorities.

Latest government statistics show a 40% year-on-year drop in the crime.

The fall has been particularly steep in the West Midlands where there has been a 76% reduction according to police.