Police target scrap metal thefts in Suffolk

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An operation to target the theft and sale of scrap metal has been carried out during three days of action across Suffolk.

The operation, which coincides with new laws introduced to stop cash sales of scrap metal and a national day of action against metal theft, was carried out on December 1, December 3 and December 4.

Visits were also carried out at scrap metal dealers and registered motor salvage operators to ensure the new laws were being complied with and legislation adhered to.

Coupled with this officers were deployed to strategic locations around the county, making use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to disrupt the transportation of stolen metal for sale or disposal.

During the three days of action 25 scrap metal dealers were visited to see if they were complying with the new law and/or whether procedures had been put in place. 23 of the dealers were found to be complying with the new legislation.

A number of vehicles were stopped along the main arterial roads in the county, 15 motorists were dealt with for minor motoring offences, vehicle defects, driving without a licence or insurance or document offences. One further motorist was dealt with by the Environment Agency in relation to a Waste Carriers Licence offence.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Mattin from the Serious and Organised Crime directorate said: “The results from the action days send out a strong message that the theft and sale of scrap metal will not be tolerated and we will use our powers to deal with those committing offences robustly.

“The new laws under the Scrap Dealers Act will mean that cash can no longer be used to pay for scrap, whether it is collected door to door or taken to a dealer. All scrap metal dealers will also have to be registered with their local authority.

“Paying for scrap metal with cheques and bank transfers will make the transaction traceable which is a massive step forward.

“Dealers have known about the new laws coming in for a while now allowing them time to put procedures in place.

“We will work closely with partner agencies to ensure anyone who commits an offence under the new laws is dealt with by ourselves and potentially prosecuted by their council.”

Anyone concerned about illegal scrap metal dealing in their area, or anyone offered cash fro their scrap from Monday 3 December, when the new laws came in, should contact Suffolk Police on 101 or dial 999 if a crime is in progress.