POLICE officers have been searching scrap yards across South Yorkshire today looking for stolen metal and reminding businesses of new laws now banning all cash transactions.
From today anybody wanting to weigh in scrap metal can no longer be paid ‘cash in hand, no questions asked’ and instead will have to be paid by cheque or electronically - in a move aimed at keeping a better audit trail on where metal is coming from.
Changes to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act has seen the upper limit of fines removed for scrap metal recyclers found break the law or breaching the conditions of their licenses.
Metal thieves have plagued communities across South Yorkshire over recent years, with criminals stealing anything from cables, to lead flashing, garden gates and drain covers.
British Transport Police Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther, said: “Despite recent reductions in offending, metal theft remains a serious threat to the infrastructure of Great Britain and we will only make a real difference if we continue to take positive action in conjunction with strengthened legislation.
“For several years metal thieves and unscrupulous metal recyclers have exploited outdated legislation to make profit from criminal activity. This stops now.
“Changes to the LASPO Act have outlawed all cash transactions at metal recycling yards across England and Wales and there has been a significant increase in fines for those dealers who fail to abide by the rules.
“These measures will seriously curtail the market for stolen metal as there will now be a clear audit trail back to those bringing commodities into recycling yards and severe sanctions for those who step out of line.
“The step forward in legislation is welcome and significant, but will not work in isolation.
“Industry, police and other agencies must continue to work together to enforce the new legislation, support further modernisation of the law and take action against those criminals who continue to target the very infrastructure we have all come to rely upon.”
In addition to visits to scrap yards today police have targeted vehicles suspected of moving stolen metal across the county.