Police in a spin over scrap metal blitz

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Metal thieves cashing in on the rising value of scrap could be driven out of the industry in a new crackdown launched by police today.

Operation Tornado was launched today in a bid to help rid the scrap metal industry of criminality.

Police forces across Yorkshire and the Humber have joined forces with British Transport Police, the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers to help regulate the scrap metal industry and restrict the movement of stolen metal.

The operation is designed to identify rogue dealers who operate outside the law by offering cash for stolen metal.

Anyone disposing of metal at scrapyards has to provide either a photo card driving licence, passport or national identity card supported by a utility bill showing their home address.

Anyone unable to prove who they are should not be given cash for their scrap.

Chf Supt Bill Hotchkiss, of South Yorkshire Police, Regional Strategic Metal Theft Coordinator for Yorkshire and Humber, said: “The four forces have put in a lot of work over a number of weeks, visiting all registered scrap metal dealers to gain their compliance with the Operation Tornado guidelines.

A high proportion of scrap metal dealers have already signed up to the scheme. The new standards should be a breath of fresh air for the scrap metal industry, which is governed by some archaic laws and a no-questions-asked approach.

“We will continue to focus on the few who remain reluctant, encouraging them to sign up in the next few weeks and are hopeful the scheme will have a significant impact on the ability of criminals to convert their stolen metal.”