The Cities Most at Risk of Electric Vehicle Cable Thefts 

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The electric vehicle (EV) revolution continues to gain momentum with increasing numbers of motorists making the switch to environmentally friendly transportation.

As more people move towards electric-powered vehicles, the infrastructure to support electric cars has become ever more critical. 

However, with increasing numbers of charging stations across the UK, a troubling trend has emerged: the theft of EV charging cables.  

The Areas at Risk for EV Cable Thefts 

With the recent warnings that thieves are targeting the copper cables at rapid and ultra-rapid charging sites, we decided to investigate data to understand where the UK is particularly vulnerable to EV cable thefts.

Here are the top 20 regions most at risk, based on metal theft figures for 2023: 

Rank Area Name Metal thefts (per 10,000 people) 
Cambridgeshire 12 
Bedfordshire 11 
Leicestershire 10 
West Midlands 10 
Hertfordshire 
Greater London 
Gloucestershire 
Greater Manchester 
Surrey 
10 Northumbria 
11 South Yorkshire 
12 West Mercia 
13 Dorset 
14 Cleveland 
15 Durham 
16 Warwickshire 
17 Essex 
18 Cumbria 
19 Derbyshire 
20 Lincolnshire 
21 Northamptonshire 
22 Staffordshire 
23 Norfolk 
24 Suffolk 
25 Hampshire 
26 Thames Valley 
27 Avon and Somerset 
28 Wiltshire 
29 North Yorkshire 
30 West Yorkshire 
31 Nottinghamshire 
32 Gwent 
33 Cheshire 
34 Lancashire 
35 Merseyside 
36 Humberside 
37 Kent 
38 Sussex 
39 Dyfed-Powys 
40 North Wales 
41 South Wales 

Our research revealed Cambridgeshire tops the list with the highest rate of metal thefts per capita according to the police data. Cambridge is 12 times more likely to be targeted than the safest area in the UK. 

Bedfordshire comes in second place, followed by Leicestershire in third and the West Midlands, encompassing major cities like Birmingham fourth. Hertfordshire rounds off the top five areas most at risk. 

For areas least at risk, Humberside has a relatively low rate of metal thefts per capita alongside Kent and Sussex. The data demonstrates Wales as the safest for EV drivers as it boasts the lowest amount of metal thefts, likely due to sparser charging infrastructure in urban and suburban areas. 

Understanding the rise in thefts 

The rise in metal thefts is thought primarily to be driven by the rise in value of copper. The International Copper Study Group is predicting that global copper demand will increase by 4.6% in 2024, with prices already over double that of the COVID-19 Pandemic. According to data held by the London Metal Exchange, copper hit $10,857 per tonne in May 2024 surpassing the highest recorded prices since records began. The increase is spurred by unprecedented worldwide demand for uses in infrastructure, renewable energy systems and EV fleets. 

Commenting on the thefts, experts at One Sure Insurance explained, “Organised gangs are targeting EV charging cables to strip and sell the copper wiring inside. With the price of copper soaring, the charging cables are being seen as an easy target particularly since the cables are typically unguarded. 

“Thieves also previously targeted catalytic converters in some traditional combustion engines, however, we are seeing them move with the times to easier targets.” 

Two electric cars parked up and plugged into charging points.

Preventative Measures against EV cable thefts 

To combat the issue, One Sure Insurance recommends the following steps and preventative measures:  

1. Improving and enhancing security 

We will need to see an increase in the installation of surveillance cameras in these areas, as well as the introduction of deterrents such as “SmartWater” a tried and tested method used by Police to distinguish thieves. 

2. Improved design of charging cables 

In the future, there will need to be an evolution of the charging cables for electric vehicles. To prevent these thefts, we would need to see the development of charging cables that are more difficult to cut or steal. Cables should also be clearly marked by manufacturers during production so scrap dealers used by thieves to sell metal can identify and refuse such items. 

3. Public Awareness 

As the demand for electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure continues to grow, addressing the issue of cable thefts is crucial. There needs to be additional Police material around the thefts to spread awareness to the public to discourage potential thieves. 

While the theft of charging cables may seem like a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of the EV revolution, it represents a significant challenge that needs to be addressed to ensure a smoother transition to greener transportation. 

About the Author

Thomas Walker

Head of New Business

Thomas is our Head of New Business. He began his insurance career in 2002 as an introducer for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Thomas has a Diploma in Insurance and is CII-certified. As his career evolved, he smoothly transitioned into insurance broking in 2005. He’s been with us at One Sure Insurance for 13 years in total and is our resident motor trade expert. Thomas’ other specialisms include liability insurance, commercial combined and other associated motor trade products. He is also passionate about fraud prevention, focusing on targeting ghost broking operations.