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UKLPG hails cylinder theft prosecution as positive news for safety

The trade body for the UKs liquefied petroleum gas industry, UKLPG, has welcomed a successful gas cylinder theft prosecution following a string of arrests made by the British Transport Police (BTP) in December 2014. The prosecution reinforces the consequences of mishandling cylinders, from both a legal and safety standpoint.


Rob Shuttleworth, chief executive of UKLPG, commented: "LP Gas cylinders are portable, convenient and have a very good safety record, which is why they are used so widely in the UK to provide heat and power. However, they should not be tampered with or transported without proper attention to safety. This includes the misguided trend for converting cylinders into wood burners or home decorations".

"Gas cylinders are also designed for reuse upon return and remain the property of the gas company throughout, so should not be exported, transported or sold without the express permission of the owner."

The defendant in the recent case pled guilty to theft, dangerous transportation and dangerous shipping and has started an eight-month prison term for attempting to transport more than 400 empty gas cylinders from the UK to Ghana.

Shuttleworth continued: "The outcome of this case is significant, as it shows that the law enforcement agencies and LP Gas industry are serious about prosecuting people who steal or misuse gas cylinders. The risk of damage, injury or explosion when cylinders are not handled appropriately should not be ignored and this case shows that there are real consequences for breaking the law." 

Commenting on the case, the Recorder said that it was a very clear and serious matter and that the agencies involved had averted the potential for catastrophic disaster through their actions.

Detective Inspector Anthony Jones said "The National Metal Theft Team of the British Transport Police specialises in investigating a wide range of complex crimes related to the theft of and illegal trade in metal, cable and related products; and this has recently included an investigation supporting UKLPG into the theft and illegal transportation / exportation of LPG cylinders from across the industry.

"These types of investigations require detailed planning and a high level of expertise, as has been demonstrated in a number of our recent successful convictions.

"Our officers work closely with key industry partners, which has recently included UKLPG, as well as other law enforcement agencies, in order to carry out our specialist operations and bring offenders before the courts."

LP Gas cylinders are safe when used correctly in accordance with the suppliers' safety instructions. However, LP Gas is a highly combustible fuel and even if a cylinder appears empty, residue gas can be ignited by sparks caused by cutting the metal. LP Gas is sold to customers in reusable cylinders that remain the property of the individual supplier company and should never be cut up to be used for any other purpose.

For more information on how to return your empty cylinders, please click here.