New scrap metal law will 'shake up the industry'
POLICE in Derby have welcomed new legislation that will see scrap dealers no longer pay cash to people bringing metal to their breakers yards.
From December 3, anyone taking metal items to be weighed in will have to be paid by alternative methods such as bank transfer or cheque.
One Derby cop has called the move "a shake-up in the industry" and believes it could see fewer scrap lorries on the streets of the city.
PC Russ Davey is leading the fight against scrap metal theft in Chaddesden, Spondon and Oakwood.
He said: "This is a shake-up in the industry that means, from December 3, no one can be paid in cash for scrap, which will most likely have an impact of the number of scrap vans and hopefully reduce theft of metal.
"We hope the new legislation will make metal-related crime less appealing to thieves who have historically relied on 'cash in hand' transactions.
"The new rules make the process of dealing in metal more transparent and ultimately should result in fewer thefts across Derbyshire."
The new legislation was announced by the Home Office in October.
It says that from December 3 "the legislation creates a new criminal offence which prohibits scrap metal dealers from paying for scrap metal in cash, only permitting electronic payment or payment by cheque."
In 2008, Derbyshire police launched Operation Calan-thia, specifically to tackle the increase in metal theft.
The operation was then scaled down and relaunched across the county in September 2011.
One raid, conducted in the presence of the Derby Telegraph, saw more than 80 metal road signs seized by police after they raided a scrap dealer in Derby. The signs were found in a skip at Bob Storer's, in Shaftesbury Street, Pear Tree.
The latest figures show that, between April 1 and October 31 this year, there were 942 metal thefts across the county, with 353 of these incidents in the police's D-Division, which covers Derby, South Derbyshire and Erewash.
PC Davey said: "Every scrap yard is different.
"There are larger ones in Derby such as Wards and Sims that are professionally and excellently run and operate strictly as to their licences.
"But some others will offer cash to people who walk in off the street, which is against regulations which state metal can only be bought from people bringing it in a vehicle and having their registration numbers and personal details given out."
In September this year a crackdown in Derby saw the city council's environmental protection team and Derbyshire police carry out a joint stop and search operation on scrap vans.
Out of the seven vehicles carrying waste approached, three were found to not be conforming to their duty of care and one was not able to provide waste transfer documents, legally required receipts for the collection and transfer of the waste.
The manager of Sims Metal Management, Richard Brooks, said he welcomed the new legislation.
He said: "The card reader will accept any Visa Debit card and works in much the same way as when you get a refund in a shop.
"We insert the customer's card, type in the amount, get them to sign a receipt and the money will be in their account within three working days."