9:00am Saturday 7th September 2013
SCRAP metal dealers and motor salvage operators in Halesowen and Sandwell are being warned they need new licences to comply with a change in the law which comes into effect in November.
The licence has been designed to help combat scrap metal theft, the fastest growing crime in the country which is estimated to have cost in the region of £750 million nationally.
In 2012 repairs to property and street furniture in Sandwell were estimated at more than £165,000 with unknown costs to companies and individuals and the borough’s council chiefs lobbied hard for the change in the law as a way of reducing the amount of theft.
The thefts cause environmental damage, damage to property and loss of monuments and public art.
They can also often lead to danger when the thefts are carried out on railway lines causing delays and potentially putting lives at risk.
As part of the application process for the new licence, motor salvage and scrap metal dealers will undergo a criminal record check and licensing authorities will be able to refuse licences and have powers to revoke them.
Councillor Paul Moore, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “The new laws will replace weak and outdated legislation and strengthen the partnership of the authority and police to deal with the metal thieves who disrupt communities and cause untold misery to many people.
''Under the new rules it will be illegal to pay for scrap with cash which will be a further safeguard.
''Sandwell was one of the leading authorities calling for new powers to crack down on the illegal metal trade, so I am delighted that this is now being done.''
The new powers will enable police and local authorities to enter and inspect sites and there will be a public register of individuals and businesses licensed which will be kept by the Environment Agency.
Sandwell is currently contacting existing registered dealers before the new laws start with information about how they can obtain a licence.
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