The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 put new laws in place last week which requires all scrap metal dealers across England and Wales to apply to their local council for a license to operate. The new law gives the council the power to pass licenses and also to decline and revoke them if a dealer is regarded as unsuitable. According to BBC News any dealer who has not registered with their local council by the 1st of December “faces prosecution with fines of up to £1,000, limits on trading hours and the possibility of being shut down”. The new act also enables the police and local authorities to examine and inspect premises where there are questionable matters regarding the legality of the trading in operations.
According to an estimate from the Association of Chief Police Officers, metal theft costs the UK economy £770 million every year. Metals are frequently stolen due to their ever increasing value, and their surge in black market demand. Criminals often use the raw materials to create new products, often through illegal sales. Originally construction sites were the prime targets for metal thefts, however this is no longer the case; railway lines are frequently targeted, along with company heating systems and even right down to companies telephone wiring.
We for one are very happy to welcome these new laws into place. We have seen first-hand here at Netwatch the impact metal theft has on businesses across the world. Metal theft is one of the biggest issues facing many of our customers across all our markets. Significant financial loss and serious harm is often the result of theft of metal from rail and utility companies. The theft of lead from roofs can also incur significant costs to the building owners and cause further damage into the future. This year Netwatch teamed up with Crimestoppers Ireland to launch a campaign to increase the awareness of metal theft and the effects in is having on many companies. We are encouraging you the public to keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour that may be linked to metal thefts and to report it immediately to try and prevent these incidents occurring into the future.