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New lead theft in Northwich

Northwich lead theft

We have covered several prominent lead thefts on this blog in the past, including locations such as the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port, St. Mary’s Centre in Chester and Neston Civic Hall. For a while, it seemed like we were getting called out to a new lead theft every week, with the thievery growing more audacious with each case, culminating in the theft of the Willaston War Memorial Plaque (covered in publications such as the Telegraph), and its subsequent restoration.

Recently, a new lead theft was reported at a building in Northwich. The half-timbered building’s protective lead flashings were callously ripped out, damaging the surrounding slates and leaving sections of the roof exposed. It has been a good number of months since we last investigated a metal theft, so we hope this isn’t the start of a new trend.

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Apprenticeship success at Mid-Cheshire College Employers Evening

Mid-Cheshire College Employers Evening Apprenticeships

Maxiflow were a featured employer at the recent Employers Evening at Mid-Cheshire College.

Featuring a mix of local businesses and national companies, the event was an opportunity for students and school-leavers to discuss their career prospects with potential employers.

Many different industries were present at the event, from banks and insurance brokers to charities and organic food wholesalers, offering a wide variety of choices to the young crowd.

Mid-Cheshire College Employers Evening Maxiflow Table

Representing the multifaceted branches of the construction industry, Maxiflow had a very strong showing at the event.

On-hand to offer advice and guidance were several Maxiflow team members, who graciously volunteered their time to aid the upcoming generation.

Maxiflow Contracts Director Warren Beatty and Manager of Mechanical & Electrical Services John Hughes held court on a range of topics from their years of experience, both from out in the field and from their management perspective.

Building Foreman Jeremy Brandreth and Joinery Specialist Aaron Ankers offered a personal perspective on the subject of apprenticeships, due to Aaron being a former Maxiflow apprentice and Jeremy his mentor.

Mid-Cheshire College Employers Evening Maxiflow Exhibitors

We were greatly encouraged by the interest we received from the young people we spoke to at the evening.

A number of students commented that they expected the event to be “very corporate” and they were pleasantly surprised that employment opportunities in our sector were represented.

We were delighted to discuss how rewarding a career utilising practical skills can be. With so many budding young professionals at the event, we hope we have helped to inspire a few students.

We also distributed our literature and spoke to careers advisors at Mid-Cheshire College and the Northwich Job Centre, providing new avenues for students to get in touch with a successful construction company and find out more about our world.

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From horses to fitness courses – How a new roof can transform your property!

Domestic EPDM flat roofing in Northwich

We were recently contacted by a couple from Northwich who were looking to make a significant addition to their countryside home.

The owners were dedicated to transitioning their property – a stunning 4-bedroom converted farmhouse – into a modern, eco-efficient 21st century home and had approached Maxiflow to complete the job!

Annexed at the rear of the property, a disused stable offered an opportunity to create something the couple had always dreamed of: Their very own gymnasium.

Re-roofing a converted house in Cheshire

Horses have a far greater tolerance for cold and damp conditions than we do, and can be happy outdoors in all conditions. So it isn’t a surprise that stables aren’t known for being particularly comfortable for humans.

Traditionally, they have been constructed without consideration for thermal insulation, with roofs being designed to provide shelter rather than as a carefully considered ‘feature’.

We undertook a complete roof refurbishment on the outbuilding, installing our speciality Firestone EPDM rubber roofing system.

This technology will not only keep the new gym perfectly protected from the elements, but is also an entirely eco-friendly, carbon-reducing measure that can do wonders to keep the building insulated!

Now the homeowners can keep fit and pamper themselves in their very own health center, without being saddled with an unreliable roof!

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Advisory on lead thefts

Stolen lead from Neston Civic Centre roof

A rash of high-profile leadwork thefts in the Cheshire area has left business owners and public service providers facing steep costs for damages. In the past fortnight, Northwich Library, Neston Civic Hall and Chester Cathedral have become the latest victims of a group of opportunistic thieves who have stripped the valuable leadwork from the buildings’ roofs.

The damage caused by the vandals can be exponential. Not only is the lead removed in a careless and heavy-handed fashion which can ruin the building’s aesthetics, the significant protection offered by the lead disappears as well. It can be difficult to gauge the scale of the problem until adverse weather conditions turn the situation into a disaster. Heavy rain leaked through Northwich Library’s unprotected roof, destroying a quantity of books and ruining several rooms’ décor.

The value of lead is currently at a premium, which has emboldened thieves to attempt high-risk thefts such as these. Though most cases will occur under cover of night, vandals may rely on peoples’ social conditioning to brazenly carry out their burglary in broad daylight. Members of the public are advised to be vigilant, as even from street level there will be signs that the thieves are not legitimate roofers:

  • No scaffolding – Regulations for working at heights require the use of stable platforms when carrying out tasks above a certain height.
  • No Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) – Hard-hats, high-visibility vests & jackets and sturdy work boots are all standardised in the roofing industry.
  • No health & safety – trained professionals will never take risks that would endanger themselves or their colleagues.

Stolen lead from Chester Cathedral roof

In all cases, owners of buildings which may be targets for lead thieves are recommended to be pro-active and take steps to ensure that their property remains safe. There are two solutions which can either aid in catching the vandals or removing the possibility of theft altogether:

  • Tracking the thieves – By coating your leadwork in special substances such as RedWeb Asset Marker Gels & Grease, imprinted with a unique forensic mark which can be scanned by UV detection equipment, your lead can be identified at sales channels and returned to you, while the thief will retain traces of the grease allowing for swifter prosecution. This solution is the least expensive and quickest to apply, but still leaves you vulnerable to thieves.
  • Removal of resale value – By replacing your roof with an alternative roofing system such as Firestone EPDM Rubber, you can have the protection benefits of a lead roof without the material fetching a high resale price. This solution has a higher cost up front, but has the guarantee of your roof having no value to thieves, eliminating the need for replacement in the future.

John McLeod, Director of Maxiflow Roofing Services, has said that “this is becoming an increasing problem in urban areas with high populations, with the very real possibility that members of the public are at risk not only of the thefts, but of injury caused by the carelessness of these vandals. We always find that prevention is better than the cure, so would advise that members of the public take steps now to prevent damage to their property or themselves.”


Information and excerpts from this article were featured on the Chester First news website and in the 21/07/2011 Chester Standard newspaper.

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