The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) is concerned Government budget cuts will re-ignite problems with metal theft, and is urging organisations to be vigilant when handling gas cylinders.

In light of the abatements, the national trade body is concerned about the possible regression of metal theft crime, with particular emphasis on the loss of cylinders. Having supported the extra investment form the Home Office in the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, it is expressing fears of a lapse in security and is, “urging the Government to re-evaluate its position on metal theft and not fall back on the progress it has made in tackling the problem.”

Doug Thornton, CEO of the BCGA, highlighted that, “The market for industrial gases in the UK is significant and, consequently, there are millions of gas cylinders in circulation. The vast majority of gas cylinders remain the property of the gas suppliers and, due to the sheer amount of resource invested, are supplied to users under a rental agreement.”

“Most customers will return the cylinder to their gas supplier, but some don’t and theft can be an issue. Occasionally they are stolen for the gases they contain, but more frequently for the scrap value of the metal. This is a disturbing trend which could increase with the focus moving away from tackling metal theft.”

“Thieves have little concern over the safety of themselves or the people to whom they sell stolen cylinders and certainly won’t care about releasing gases into the environment. So it’s important that people are aware of their responsibilities in handling and processing gas cylinders correctly.”

To support the safe return of gas cylinders, the BCGA works in partnership with the trade association for the LPG industry (UKLPG) on a programme to help civic amenity sites return cylinders to their correct owner. Under the scheme, gas cylinders are collected free-of-charge within 15 working days, and returned to their lawful owner.


The BCGA is the UK membership body for the industrial gases industry. With a commitment to quality, safety and environmental measures, BCGA members employ 19,000 people directly and account for an annual turnover of £2.7bn ($3.9bn).