New law to cut down metal theft
1:54pm Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
METAL thieves are being targeted by new legislation which forces scrap dealers to gain a licence from the council.
The Scrap Metal Act came into force this week in an attempt by police to make it harder for criminals to prosper from metal theft.
Bury Council confirmed that there are 18 licensed metal salvage operators in the borough, and a further 25 registered scrap metal dealers.
Dealers and collectors now have to undergo background checks to make sure they are fit to run a business and can only trade using cheques or bank transfers so a record of the transaction is kept.
All sellers of metal must now provide personal identification at the point of sale, which is then recorded by the dealer.
Failing to comply with these conditions is a criminal offence, and the council and police now have the power to enter and inspect sites, as well as the power to revoke licenses or issue closure notices.
Greater Manchester Police say the law is underpinning work carried out under Operation Alloy, which was set up in July 2011 and has helped to reduce metal related crimes.
From July 2010 to June 2011 there were 8,052 offences, but this has dropped markedly to 2,388 between July 2012 and June 2013.
Greater Manchester Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said metal theft can have a serious impact in the community.
He said: “Far from being a victimless crime, metal theft causes huge inconvenience to people in the form of power cuts, trams being put out of service or broadband and telephone networks being affected. More seriously, those dependent on an uninterrupted power supply can have their lives endangered by power cuts resulting from cable theft.”
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