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New law to combat metal theft



From December 3rd 2012 it will be illegal for scrap merchants to buy metal for cash. Dealers will be required to use only electronic payments or payments by cheque.


The existing legislation is being revised to specifically tackle the issue of metal theft, which has been a national problem in recent times due to rising metals prices. There will also be significantly increased fines for key offences, so that the most serious breaches can result in fines of up to £5,000.


Scrap dealers are already required to keep records of each transaction they make, but under the new legislation they will now have to record details of who any payments are made to. Metal theft has been falling in the county over the last year and recording this extra information will make it much easier to track down those responsible for stealing metal, and also make it much harder for them to sell metal quickly and anonymously.


Det Ch Insp Tannis Perks, lead on Operation Devon said: “As part of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Devon many scrap metal dealers across the county are already recording who their transactions are made with voluntarily and this extra legislation will bring all dealers into line, leaving even fewer avenues for criminals to turn a quick profit from stolen cables, drain covers and lead roofing.


“We have been focussing on those stealing metal and damaging infrastructure for the last couple of years and have seen a fall in the number of incidents occurring in the county. This new legislation gives us even more tools to combat this kind of crime and will hopefully drive offending levels even lower.”


Stuart Nagler, Chair of the Police Authority, said: “The Police Authority has campaigned for better co-ordinated efforts to tackle metal theft. This change to stop criminal cash-in-hand activity is warmly welcomed. This combined with the tremendous efforts of Hertfordshire Constabulary will continue to reduce the incidence of this despicable crime.”


For more information on the new legislation visit: