Officers from across Hampshire Constabulary took part in a day of action on Wednesday 4th December to enforce new legislation around the illegal trade of scrap metal.
Under the banner of Operation Tornado, an ongoing national initiative that aims to make it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal and disrupt the activities of those dealers who operate illegal businesses, enforcement visits took place in Portsmouth, Romsey and Yateley, following the introduction of the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act.
More than 40 officers from across the county visited scrap metal dealers to ensure awareness and compliance with the new rules, working alongside partner agencies including local authorities, the Environment Agency and British Telecom.
As a result, metal has been seized for further examination, along with transaction invoice records that will be scrutinised to ensure dealers are complying with the new legislation.
Inspector Jackie Willson, who is Hampshire Constabulary’s lead for Operation Tornado, said: “Today’s day of action is just the start of the enforcement action taking place across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight following the introduction of the new Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act.”
“The act affects scrap yard dealers along with mobile collectors of metal, who should all take the time to make themselves aware of their responsibilities and listen to any warnings.”
“This type of enforcement action is ongoing and we will be visiting all of our sites across the two counties in the weeks and months to come!”
The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 came into effect on 1st October and brought in strict new measures requiring traders to ask for photographic ID, and to sign up for a new licence with their local authority. It also includes door-to-door traders and the motor salvage industry, and today’s activity marks the conclusion of the two-month registration period in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, mirroring similar action taking place across the country this week.
Detective Superintendent Evans, from British Transport Police, said: “These days of action, and the co-ordinated activity across England, Scotland and Wales, form part of an ongoing national programme of activity to combat metal theft in all its many forms.”
“I hope this week’s enforcement activity will serve as a timely reminder to any unscrupulous scrap metal dealers or collectors tempted to flout the law that all industries are working together to tackle this problem, which poses a huge threat to the infrastructure of the UK.”
“Metal thieves cause misery for thousands of people up and down the country when they steal cable, whether it is from the rail network, power lines, telecommunications installations or elsewhere, and attack our cultural heritage when they steal leads from church roofs or significant sculptures.”
Anyone with information regarding metal or cable crime should contact Hampshire Constabulary by calling 101. Information can also be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For more information on the Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act 2013, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scrap-metal-dealers.