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Reducing metal thefts by new rules for scrap yards

48 Comments 31st January 2015

Suggested legislation/regulation to greatly reduce the incidence of theft of metals:

(1) Require scrap-metal dealers to record names and proof of identity and residence (eg driving licence number, address from recent utility bill, etc) from everyone who sells to them.

(2) Prohibit payment by cash on the spot.  Payment would be by cheque posted to the seller at the address demonstrated above.

(3)  Perhaps require scrap yards to hold purchased metal materials for 14 or 28 days, which would improve the chances of recovering items reported stolen.

Why does this matter?

Metal theft is so prevalent that something radical is needed to remove the ease of disposing of stolen items.

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48 Responses to Reducing metal thefts by new rules for scrap yards

  1. Ray Smith says:

    We are suffering from a local scrap merchant, the noise, smells, problems on the road(blocked traffic) glass and debris on road. Untaxed cars etc. We have tried all means of complaining , even up to the Secretary of State but still it goes on daily 5 and a half days a week, we the residents would welcome the above ideas and feel that if this was put into operation it would reduce the number of illegal people using the site

  2. W Hannay says:

    It is a stupid idea it will not stop metal thefts,i will destroy another industry in the UK,these idea’s are thought up by people that have never worked a day in their life in the private sector,but this will not stop the goverment doing it,that is why the UK in going into depression.

    • w.martin says:

      It might help the tax man as most go into scrapyards including businesses
      pick up the cash and do not declare it

      Brilliant idea saves the scrapman handling loads of money which now a days is unsafe

  3. Arthur roberts says:

    Why are scrap metal dealers being penalised because the police can’t do their job properly? The people who bring scrap to my yard have not stolen church roof lead or BT cable or road signs and it is not my place to accuse anyone of theft. If I am asked by the police to look out for something specific that’s different but I am not in business to check identities and utility bills for a tenners worth of scrap. As for hanging on to it for a month before selling it on, how do I pay my employees and my bills if I haven’t had any money coming in?
    The scrap industry is regulated up to the hilt as it is and the majority are well run licensed sites who trade responsibly. Tackle the problem at source (the thefts) and don’t penalise businessmen for trying to run their businesses!

    • Jon romford says:

      I think it’s he’ll saving up a bit of cable I get from old bits and bobs to strip down to get like you say about a 10er for it,
      now it’s gona take me another 5days to get the money JOKE

  4. Flash says:

    Another waste of time dreamt up by people who have NO idea how the world works. Bit like the sorn idea for insurance. What dumb muppet thinks up these harebrained ideas. It wont stop thefts more than likely increase theft & crime. it will just make the syndicates stronger

  5. marc says:

    why not asks customers for waste carraige licence like they are ment to

  6. ben harper says:

    i also run a small yard in the countryside to ask older people for id is basicaly accusing them …and for what a pounds worth of lead, out of there garden shed, what ever is this country comming to, i like many others in my profesion do more for the enviroment than any other single person anywhere …we dedicate our time and lives to collecting everybody ellses rubbish and turning it around into usefull recyclable goods / commodities we should not be treated as such if anything we should be given a bloody grant

  7. Me says:

    when a hospital has to cancel operations something is going wrong with society

  8. Me says:

    when a hospital has to cancel operations something is going wrong with society – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8955214/Cable-theft-forces-hospital-to-cancel-operations.html

  9. bill says:

    i think this is another supid idea that the goverment has thourt of if there woz not no scarp men on englands roads then england would not look the same it would be like a boob has hit it and i dont think u would see david camron loading metel on the back of a truck

  10. Tony lawrence says:

    This bill will only drive the legal scrap yards to the wall,firstly customers with small amounts of scrap will not bother any more,and this will lead to unemployment on a large scale in the scrap trade.by all means give the police extra powers to vist yards and check on the paper work,but were are all the extra police coming from ?as a nation we have a big drug proplem dealers don’t advertise but people know were to get them,as will apply to dodgy scrap dealers who will pay cash people will find them .banning cash is not the answer but proper ID checks would help!!!

  11. Tony lawrence says:

    Bad idea

  12. bob hutchinson says:

    hi, these ridiculous ideas will kill the scrap industry, its bad enough now with tachographs carriers licence, scrap insurance etc/there is only one industry left where you dont have to have all these carriers licenses. tachos etc that is selling drugs totally unregulated, its as if we are being ruled by an enemy power totally set on destroying our country

  13. Michael Duffy says:

    Excellent idea. None of the above should be particularly onerous to either customer or scrap dealer; except the part about keeping the goods for set period of time, that should go.

    However, taking a proof of address and accepting payment to a bank account should not deter genuine customers, and would provide a useful paper trail in the even of a police investigation.

  14. rog y says:

    great idea more money in the govts coffers to spend on things worthwhile and less money in the pockets of the thiefs and grey economy brigade and maybe a bit of peace on a sunday morning from someone blowing an old fox hunting horn on the back of a rattling old diesel transit pick up shouting..SCRAP IRON!! SCRAP IRON..bring back the rag and bone man least he gave you a gold fish or a baloon and never drove a brand new merc while claiming the dole and doing a bit of scrap

    • Phil Cotterill says:

      Clueless

    • Tat man nath says:

      U have gotta nerve we are the rag an bone men stupid we just more modern an most of us arnt on the dole an like me I do this to avoid the dole an as for this check stuff it’s stupid it’s all for the tax man cuz they wanna peace of the pie this isn’t ova will only cause caps trust me people are starting petitions already an as for theft tat men get the blame cuz we are the little people an at got a voice British gas for example the boss sends the workers out an asks for the metal back but they take it in an wen boss asks workers will say tat men robbed it an that’s jus an example an if a bike gets robbed it’s the tat men again more like dirty bag eds don’t judge dude

  15. maria says:

    i have a family member who is a scrap metal he goes out every day and he does not steal he has found it so hard to get any scrap now as you have people who are on the dole takiong in scrap they uses vans so no body can see what they are doing and then tha dole office cannot see either my family member is self employed and has to pay for his books to be done every year it cost anthing from £400 pounds he also has to have a wast carries licence tax ect these people were in the scrap yard the other day and had a good giggle at it all they are going to get fake id the only waay to stop all this is to make every one have the money paid into the bank not cash and it should have been brought in at the start not brought in bit by bit as they are doing at this momenet in time its down to the scrap yards what they do sorry mr cameron but get your act together and do the pay into tha bank now it will stop all the doleites from getting more money and give the honest traders a chance to earn a living again after all fairs fair if they had to live on there earning as otherdo they would be mad about what is happening

    • paul says:

      well said it must be the best scam ive seen my company has the same problem things must change for us

  16. Doreen Dawson says:

    Is this going to apply to the travelling community, who I am sure won’t have bank accounts. Or again is this knee jerk reaction going to affect only the small legal scrap dealers, making it even harder to get a living

    • Abbey says:

      FYI I am a traveler and I have a banknaccount I can read and write to just show how unedacated you truly are love how quick to blame other people I I think you will find britans prisons are filed with house dwellers not travelers

  17. G Dawes says:

    I only have an expired passport, no photo driving licence and am not an illegal alien so no ID card, how can I get rid of the old allen scythe( cast Iron) bit of metal from my garage and old pipe, old window weights etc.
    They will not accept me as a customer.

  18. paul says:

    So OK we make it so the thief’s can’t steal metal no more that’s good trains run just as slow as they normally do and over price us even more !! But has anyone thought they can’t steal metal no more so does that mean they’ll stop. Think again these people will just find something else a little closer to home and while the government gets more money on tax ! We will pay for it there will be more house hold crimes , car thefts exec maybe the police should do what there paid for and catch them !!! I am a plumber and we save the scrap up every month and it gets split between 4 of us an extra £20 covers food for the week if where lucky. Had one of our vans stolen last week got it back 2 days later with no tools plenty of damage though !! THE THIEF STILL HASN’T BEEN CAUGHT
    I don’t agree with theft but id rather be late on a train then have them in my house !!!!

  19. Phil Cotterill says:

    Ive jus drove 30 miles to get rid of legal lead and alluminium. Was given the third degree and told that I neede to either bring in my passport and a utility bill with my name on itor MY Driving licence. Drove thirty miles again to fetch these and whilst driving I thought , I pay all my paperless bills by direct debit. Thinking ahead I though that if I take my driving license and passport then I wouldnt have a problem. Wrong … They wouldnt accept my driving licence as it was a paper one and didnt prove. I lived there!!!!!!!! Also told that it wasnt “travellers” whop was doing the stealing it was men who didnt want there boss to know that they were staling from them. Im doing my business elsewhere as he also said that due to the new rules that they were struggling and perhaps indicates there were dodgy themselves. Only to glad to oblige. Tossers all round.

  20. paul scrapman says:

    I was pulled in by the police and enviroment everything ok eccept the environment officer ( obnoxious cow.e edwards from bassetlaw ) gave me 200 pound fine for not having waste transfer documents for the scrap metal on my truck which were old radiators. i challenged her on how she expects me to give out up to 100 tickets a day from a washing machine to a frying pan.she wasn’t. intrested .on another note i would just like to add i understand the bad press scrapmen get there are arseholes in any buisness just think where u work.i personally have been doing it two years after the building work dried up .up until then i had respect for the police and authority ‘ now after two years i find that comments about them being arrogant racist true.buying a transit van and putting scrap dealer sign on is like painting your face black or being a traveller .i only have to put up with it 8hours a day

    • paul says:

      i agree with the ea on some things but to give 100 tickets a day is a lot off money to payout on printing so it not be worth doing for us but laws are laws they say we get WCL to carry waste at least we have it

  21. Ray says:

    Recently I found that instead of putting metal from old taps etc. after DIY in the refuge that I could easily recycle these bits and pieces at a local metal recycler on my way to shops. The reward is two fold. Firstly I receive a small amount in compensation, maybe only a pound coin or two and secondly that I am recycling and supporting a local business. Clearly I don’t want to add an extra journey to pay a cheque into a bank for the sum of maybe £1 or go miles out of my way to a local authority recycle centre. I am shocked by the lack of thought involved in this. Currently my local metal recycler have insisted on having proof of address and keep that on file for all their customers. But as a normal resident just recycling, I cant see the cost of issuing a check for such small amounts, practical for either party, Maybe if there was a limit, say £50, after which cash could not be paid. I hope the government will put a little more thought into this.

  22. Mark Towlson says:

    What happens to the ali can collector? My local dealer says you must prove id & show carriers licence even for a pound,by 13th of december This country makes me sick, I rely on a little bit of scrap now & then to get me by

  23. josh says:

    This is just another way for the government to make money and councils to get contracts and make money of scrap metal eather than the off joe

  24. kel says:

    My partner is a scrap man he doesn’t earn enough as it is and your bringing this stupid law in!! You do not think of the people that do not steal ect.. Your punishing all the scrap metal men all because there are people coming over from poland ect and Stealing it!! Do not brush ever scrap man of with the same brush!! My partner Is a good honest man he has never stolen in his life!! He gets pulled over by the police 24/7 due to people stealing!! The gov need to sit down and re think it.. People who have been arrested due to scrap metal theift should have the cheque idea not the men/ladies who are honest!!! RE THINK IT!!!!!!!

  25. Ed says:

    I’m a gas engineer and the scrap that I take in pays for a family holiday. So now they are introducing cheque payments the government will be able to tax you on your scrap, because its easy money for them instead off chasing benefit cheats/thiefs !
    As for stopping metal theft WAKE UP Mr Cameron the people who steal the metal know the illegal yards where to take it!

  26. ronny says:

    i think this is the best idea ever so it will stop all the people on benifits so everyone who is on the scrap will have to be legit

  27. ronny says:

    maria you no why the scrap bis is so hrd because every man and is dog is on it who is on the dole this new law with get rid of all them so should make it a bit better for us scrap dealers who are legit if your legit we dnt mind waiting for are money only like working for someone and geting paid at of week are month i think its best idea every but your write it wont stop people thefting it.

  28. Tat man nath says:

    My great grandad was an old school scrap man an so was his granddads an now I am an not once have I stole an not once have I signd on my truck is always clean and legit an ova the years I’ve saw ppl leave there jobs to tat but also seen ppl sign off to tat my point is don’t paint us with the same brush this last year I’ve had three trucks took off me an ova £3000 in fines for no good reason visas an the police are animals an now u wonder why we go out 7 days a week all hours to pay for them bein nobs us tat men have children an bills too an it’s not for theft at all its cuz they are missin out on the billions of pounds wats comin in an out the country an they can’t get there greasy hands on it so they use theft to get goody too shoes ppl to back em an out vote us David Cameron up urs

  29. mark says:

    i dont think the goverment has realy thought this idea through,how much its going to affect the small run family run srap yards , i work for one of them,which employ just under 40 men and women,at our yard we have so much cctv,we record every person which comes to our yard,yes we have had people who try,s to sell us stolen srap, which we just say no to,and we have had police come to the yard to check,if we have any stolen scrap,to which we let them look,these days the most stolen items are lead and copper cable and bt cable,we have spent a lot of money to try and keep our yard up to scratch ,eg , smart warter detection equipment,i just think the goverment has realised how much money passes through ,in the scrap trade and they want a big chunk of it,well mr camron i pay my tax &ni every week,leave our scrap trade alone and crack on with the people who come to this country and do fu.k all and receive all the money the want ,get to grips with this country and sort it out ,

    • dave darlington says:

      By far the best response on this page. I am a legit scrap man and all these thieves and foreigners are giving us a bad name and its the honest people who pay for it. Crooks are crooks and will find a way round anything, please leave us honest scrap men alone!

    • Lee says:

      Like what you say. But can you tell me do you if someone rings up on a whim and tells you a man with a wheel Barrow has stolen a copper tank. And they dicrib him. Do you stop the man from selling to you.? Oh even though you have delt with this man for 5 years and no complaints.? Me I am that man who for years never stole out or earned enough for a mots. Well if I didn’t have 3 children to feed as I’m to proud to sign on. Some thief in a pick up who got jealous as I earned more a day than he did in a week. Oh and traders gave me scrap as respect for pushing a wheel Barrow 5…/6 miles a day. So now new laws but have passport etc to scared it’ll happen again. So all for you being the good business man.
      P’s be interested to know your decision on this.

  30. mike says:

    have just tried to cash in my old copper tank….needed a photo id driving licence..dont have one!.so needed my passport and utility bill(no more than 3 mths old),,since my utility bills are all paid online/direct debit,,i get 6mthly statements…SO WAS REFUSED. YET I HAVE A GOV ISSUED PHOTO ID CARD. how ridiculous is this system!!!

  31. Mr Spoon says:

    Camron you jumped up prick you couldnt run a piss up in a brewry Cling on CLEGG Do you really think you will ever get to the possition your in now ever again ? DONT BE SO FUCKING STUPID ! Everybody in this land VOTE for whoever you believe in BUT NEVER THE TORYS OR THE LIBDEMS 1

  32. SI says:

    Must be good for the honest tax paying scrap dealer, if you have nothing to hide like signing on, or your yearly income or where you got the metal from. If your legit then you can claim for your, diesel, vehicles repairs, fines, loss of vehicle and any loss or profit. It seems people just want to get away without paying tax on their incomes, well why should they. I am dreading the day they do away with money altogether in society and you just use a card to pay and get paid

  33. manandvan says:

    not content with me showing my bank statement to a yard ive dealt with for a year or so who already have seen my id, they now want to scan and record my driver details, as a hgv psv driver they,ve got no chance! my licence is worth a lot more than the 216 quid ive written off going back for, we,ll watch all the scrap yards go to the wall!!!!!!

  34. UFB says:

    WTF why not make the punishment for stealing something worse than a hotel with gym and TV and drink and drugs and all the luxury’s that our prisoners are allowed. What a crazy country we live in, never try and sort the problem out but skirt around it with some more paperwork and bullshit certificates and a strict telling off from the human rights brigade. VIOLATE SOMEONE ELSE’S HUMAN RIGHTS AND YOU LOOSE YOURS ( whatever your parents were or weren’t like whatever happened to you when you were young, if you had a tough life then why fuck up other peoples, break the circle !

  35. dddoc says:

    1. Anyone who sells metals to scrap yards should have their photo taken along with the metals their selling.

    2. That information should be passed onto to the police to check out before any payments are paid out to the seller.

    3. Only UK born citizens should have the right to sell on metals in order to protect the country from criminal gangs here just too rip us off.

    4. Dealers should have access to a data base that holds information on known metal thieves. Allowing legit dealers the right to flag suspected criminals.

    5. all scrapyards should have police CCTV motoring what goes in and out the yards.

    Only criminals firms will fight this law, where legal firms will see this as extra protection as they too are under threat of break ins from metal thieves.

    Junkies have nicked everything not nailed down in my street and criminal firms are the problem….

  36. Brian adens says:

    Gov no thinking properly where does the stolen scrap go ,straight in to a container shipped across the word ,it forgien gangs who r stealing our plaques statue,s copper

  37. Hazel says:

    I had a skip full of metal wit lead as well he took it away and said he would what it and ripped me off he gave me £32.00 in cash and no print out on howe much he took I been ripped off what .ca I do ?

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