Scrap metal cash ban does not go far enough, says Croydon South MP
NEW laws banning scrap metal cash deals came into force on Monday.
But Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway has said they do not go far enough in tackling metal theft, a problem that has grown in recent years, with family and war memorials, churches and railway signalling equipment all targeted.
It will only be early next year, when his Scrap Metal Dealers' Bill is expected to become law, that Mr Ottaway believes the thieves will have their wings well and truly clipped.
The legislation coming into operation on Monday is limited to cashless deals and only applies to established scrap metal dealers.
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Mr Ottaway's Bill goes further, bringing "rag and bone" itinerant traders, car breakers and smelting yards under the law.
In addition to insisting on no cash deals, the Bill also requires all traders to obtain a licence from their local authority and those wanting to sell metal to provide verifiable ID.
Traders breaching the new regulations face unlimited fines.
Commenting on this week's new regulations, Mr Ottaway said: "The cash ban is a major step in the right direction.
"It tackles the root cause of the problem – the lack of a clear audit trail, which allows thieves and rogue scrap metal dealers to trade in stolen scrap metal undetected."
However, he said, the exclusion of mobile collectors, car breakers and smelting yards meant they could continue to exploit the loophole.
Mr Ottaway said: "It is this loophole that my Bill addresses, alongside a raft of tougher penalties and it can't come soon enough."
This week's new measures have been welcomed as a major step forward in tackling metal theft by Paul Crowther, Deputy Chief Constable of the British Transport Police.
He said: "These measures will seriously curtail the market for stolen metal as there will now be a clear audit trail back to those bringing commodities into recycling yards and severe sanctions for those who step out of line."
But he added the measures would not work in isolation.