ASHFIELD: New laws will clamp down on scrap metal thefts

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New laws are clamping down on scrap metal dealers to help stop metal thefts.

The laws come into effect this month and mean that all scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators will have to have a licence issued by their local council.

It is hoped the laws will prevent an estimated 1,000 metal thefts a week in the UK, which cost the country around £220 million a year.

Ashfield District Council will be able to refuse to grant a licence where the applicant is judged not to be a suitable person to operate as a scrap metal dealer or collector.

Coun Chris Baron, leader of Ashfield District Council, said: “This new legislation will allow the council to help tackle the problem of metal theft which has affected rail and power industries as well as hospitals and churches.

“Metal theft affects everyone, from delayed train journeys, disruption to power supplies to theft of church roofs and war memorial plaques. “

The new rules should make it more difficult for thieves to operate and will make it easier for the police to work together with council officers, to track down anyone trying to sell stolen scrap metal.

The new rules apply to both scrap metal sites and door to door collectors and include a ban on paying for scrap metal in cash and a requirement for dealers to verify the identity of the seller.

It will be an offence for dealers to make ‘no questions asked’ cash payments which help metal thieves and rogue dealers. During October existing scrap metal dealers can apply to Ashfield District Council for the new licences.

From 1st December it will be an offence to deal scrap metal without a licence. Authorities will be able to refuse applications from unsuitable applicants and will be able to revoke licences if there is suspected illegal activity. The police will also receive new powers to search sites.