STEPHEN Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has today welcomed new figures which reveal that the Government’s efforts to reduce metal theft are showing early signs of success.
Metal theft fell every quarter over the last year – and by 40 per cent overall in 2012–13. This coincides with tough new measures introduced by the Government to clamp down on the offence which causes distress and disruption to the public.
Last December the Government tightened the net around rogue sellers by:
Banning all scrap metal dealers from trading in cash.
Ending the practice of ‘no questions asked’ cash payments.
Giving the police powers of entry to tackle illegal trading in metal yards.
On top of this, the Government established a National Metal Theft Taskforce to focus enforcement activity, and backed a new law introduced by Conservatives in Parliament which will:
Require scrap metal dealers to be licensed.
Allow councils to refuse or revoke licences if a dealer is deemed unsuitable.
Give magistrates the power to issue rogue traders with fines of up to £5,000.
These powers under the Scrap Metal Act 2013 came into full effect on Sunday (1 December).
Mr Metcalfe commented: “Metal theft has a huge impact and costs the economy around £220 million a year. This crime affects everyone – from the stealing of cables that delay your rail journey home to the shocking theft of war memorials.”
“That is why the Government has tightened the net around rogue sellers and funded a new taskforce to crack down on metal theft. And from this weekend it will be illegal for people to trade in scrap metal without a licence.”
“We are on the side of people who play by the rules and are sending a strong message to rogue dealers – you will be caught.”