I was shocked to read recently of the theft of some 1,000 cylinders of refrigerant gas from a firm in Seevetal near Hamburg.

Arthur Friedrichs is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of refrigerant gas and has been in the business for more than 60 years. The gas stolen, R134a, is used primarily in the automotive industry and the value of the haul is estimated to be in excess of £500,000.

In recent times, refrigerants have been an increasingly valuable target for thieves. In Germany their value has risen for a 12.6 kg cylinder from around 100 euros to 600 in little more than six months. This significant price rise and a shortage of supply have resulted in an increase in thefts, particularly in Germany.

A theft of 851 cylinders of R134a took place recently in Munster and a further 70 cylinders were stolen in raids in the Leipzig area.

Fortunately, the problem does not seem to have travelled to these shores but it does emphasise the increase in cost of refrigerant gasses in the UK.