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Laws to stop metal theft introduced

01 Oct 2013

Rogue traders who buy and sell scrap metal for cash face £5,000 fine under new laws designed to stamp out metal theft.

In order to operate under the new rules from now onwards (1 October), all scrap metal dealers will need to apply to their local council for a licence and, under The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, local authorities and police will be given new powers to inspect premises where they suspect illegal activity. This will be supported by the ability for magistrates to be able to issue fines of up to £5,000 to scrap metal dealers who trade in cash and the power for councils to refuse or revoke licences if a dealer is deemed unsuitable.

Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said:

Metal theft costs the UK economy around £220 million a year and it has a huge impact on our communities – from disrupted rail services to desecrated war memorials and damaged church roofs.

Our changes, including increasing financial penalties and banning cash payments, have already helped slash metal theft across the UK.

This new legislation will help tighten the net around rogue dealers who flout the rules and wilfully purchase stolen metal, while reforming the system to support legitimate businesses.

The new scrap metal laws will also mean:

  • all scrap metal dealers must verify the name and address of the seller at the point of sale, which is recorded and retained by the dealer;
  • the cashless offence will apply to all scrap metal dealers including ‘mobile collectors’ who collect door to door;
  • there will be a single national publicly available register of all scrap metal dealers.

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