Valerie calls for tougher action on metal theft

Valerie has welcomed proposed legislation to tackle metal theft, but says more needs to be done.

 On 26 January 2012 the Home Secretary Theresa May issued a statement of the Government’s intention to bring in legislation to ban cash transactions in the scrap metal market and to increase the fines for existing offences under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964.
Valerie said:

“West Midlands Police recorded metal thefts worth over £16m in 2011/12. In Walsall, we have seen repeated thefts of metal, for example from the War Memorial at Barr Beacon and from St Matthews Church. This is completely unacceptable.

“Metal theft is thought to cost the UK economy £770m per year. The cost is not only economic: thefts from power supplies, places of worship, war memorials and the rail network bring great societal costs and also risks to public safety. Last year 35,000 train journeys were delayed or cancelled because of this crime. Ten churches a day suffer from thefts and insurance payouts are increasing at an alarming rate.
“In my view there needs to be better enforcement, including more powers for the police to close down rogue traders. People selling scrap metal should have their identities recorded at point of sale, and scrap metal dealers should be licensed rather than registered with the local authority.

“I am calling on the Government to take more decisive action to tackle this dangerous and costly crime.”