Police are highlighting the ongoing problem of aluminium kegs being stolen from pubs and other licensed premises across Lincolnshire.
They say that because kegs are often kept outside awaiting collection by breweries, they are at risk from both organised gangs and opportunists.
The kegs are taken to be melted down for their considerable scrap value. They are either melted down by the offenders or cut up into unrecognisable parts, before being taken to scrap metal yards.
This criminal activity is often used as a means of funding other criminal behaviour.
While recent changes to the laws regulating Scrap Metal Dealers have made it harder to dispose of the stolen metal, causing some of the criminals to abandon the property, police say the determined thief will find a means of disposal.
The only people who can lawfully possess these kegs are either the licensed premises themselves or authorised delivery persons.
Lincolnshire Police are encouraging members of the public to report any sightings of kegs, whether they are abandoned at the roadside or being transported around by illegally by the thieves.
During a recent joint agency Operation, 15 kegs were recovered from a site in Lincoln and returned to their owners via Kegwatch http://www.kegwatch.co.uk.
Whilst the offenders could not be identified, the action of seizing these kegs disrupted and deprived the offenders of an opportunity to financially benefit from their theft.
Anyone with information about what they believe may be stolen kegs is asked to contact Lincolnshire Police on 101.