Calling for urgent action to tackle metal theft in York
I am backing a four point plan to tackle Metal theft which is supported by the British Transport Police, the Association of Chief Police Officers & the Neighbourhood Watch. The plan calls for:
1) Licensing of scrap metal dealers, rather than current registration with Local Authorities.
2) The government to look into the possibility and effectiveness of banning cash transactions, especially for large scale/high value scrap metal transactions.
3) Tougher police powers to close rogue traders down.
4) Anyone selling scrap to provide proof of identity, recorded at the point of sale.
In August, I met Richard Lungmuss, Route Director from Network Rail, to discuss the problems that Network Rail is experiencing with metal theft on the railway. After the meeting I wrote to the Minister responsible for Business and Enterprise, to ask if the government would be willing to amend the 1964 Scrap Metal Dealers Act to ensure that cable theft is no longer seen by thieves as a lucrative activity. The Minister replied to say that discussions are underway to identify whether any legislative changes are required. Metal theft is becoming an epidemic, and urgent action is needed from the Home Office now to stop this getting out of control. Metal theft is damaging the economy and can be extremely dangerous.
Households face repeated power cuts, commuters face increasing delays and churches and public buildings are being damaged, all as a result of escalating metal theft. Between April 2010 and March 2011, cable theft on the railways increased by over 70 per cent and this is putting lives at risk. The Government needs to act now because it is too easy to trade stolen metal and the licensing laws for dealers need strengthening. People selling to scrap metal dealers should prove their identity and there needs to be stronger powers for the police to investigate if they think a crime has been committed. We need to support legitimate trade but make it easier to stop organised crime and the Home Office shouldn’t turn a blind eye. We need urgent action.