THE passing of a new bill to licence scrap metal dealers will mean that ‘time is up’ for thieves in Burton and South Derbyshire.
The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill was given the green light earlier this week and will give local authorities powers to license scrap metal dealers and carry out inspections.
After passing its final parliamentary hurdle, the legislation will seek to regulate the £5.6 billion scrap metal industry which is the principal outlet for stolen metal – a problem that has been a ‘plague’ on South Derbyshire during the past 12 months.
The bill proposes a licensing scheme accounting for all scrap metal sales; fines for serious breaches of the act; cashless trading for all scrap metal dealers and more powers to help police close down rogue traders.
South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler, who has supported the bill since its inception earlier this year, said in the House of Commons chamber that: “The people in South Derbyshire, who are plagued by people going round in vans trying to get scrap metal, will be delighted that they will now have to display a licence in full.”
Her support comes after the issue of nuisance scrap metal collectors continued to be a problem for people across the area.
Residents have regularly complained about being woken in the early hours by men with loud hailers appealing for scrap metal.
Derbyshire Police has also witnessed a massive increase in metal thefts during the past two years which saw the creation of a special operation to try to put an end to the problem.
Mrs Wheeler added: “I am delighted this bill has passed its report stage.
“No-one wants well-run traders being buried with red tape and extra cost, but we need to stamp out rogue traders, who steal metal and are given cash for it, no questions asked.
“By introducing a licensing system there will be a responsible payment system with real traceability.”
The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill is a Private Members’ Bill sponsored by Conservative MP Richard Ottaway and is expected to be passed into the law in the coming weeks.
Mr Ottaway said: “This marks a significant victory.”