New drive to tackle metal thefts
The number of metal thefts in Northern Ireland has tripled in recent years.
Manhole covers, cables used for 999 calls and live electricity wiring have been taken, said Justice Minister David Ford.
A new Crimestoppers campaign has been launched to combat the problem.
Mr Ford said: "Opportunistic criminals are targeting our community, and putting everyone at risk, by stealing metal from domestic, public and corporate premises."
He added: "Criminals will target children's playgrounds, church and school roofs, telephone cabling and similar items, with no regard for the potential consequences."
In 2011 there were 669 incidents of metal theft compared with 219 in 2007.
The campaign leaflet, entitled Crush Metal Theft In Your Community, will be distributed by the PSNI, BT, Northern Ireland Electricity, Northern Ireland Water and the Housing Executive.
Mr Ford said he was engaging with Environment Minister Alex Attwood about the matter.