SCRAP metal thieves are costing city centre businesses thousands of pounds.
Two landlords are calling on Sunderland City Council to expand the city’s CCTV system in a bid to combat thieves.
Philip Crossley Lowes and George Winter estimate they have spent thousands on repairing their properties, which are mostly let to businesses.
Rising premiums and hefty excess fees mean claiming on insurance is not an option for the pair.
Mr White, who owns properties in Frederick Street, estimates he has spent £2,000 replacing stolen lead in the past three years.
He said: “We have to put lead back on the listed ones, but we put lead-like fibreglass where we can.
“If we had more CCTV cameras there would be a drop.
“I’m finding that the more burglaries we have, the less people want to come into town.
“Stuff is getting stolen and big investors don’t want to be in Sunderland.”
The latest raid came over the weekend when Sunniside was targeted by thieves stripping lead off door canopies.
Mr Winter, who has been in the property trade for 26 years, criticised the council for what he called a “narrow-minded approach”.
“They are not trying to attract new business into the slight outskirts of the city centre. Footfall is very bad and parking is a problem,” he said.
Both landlord insist their properties are fully secured.
But they believed monitored CCTV cameras would be the best deterrent.
Insurance broker Mr Crossley Lowes paid out £3,400 after raiders targeted garages he owns in Foyle Street.
No one from Sunderland City Council was available for comment.