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New laws will help tackle metal thefts in East Lancashire
LEGISLATION controlling scrap metal dealers is set to be tightened.
An alcohol-like licensing regime will be imposed on councils, which face new responsibilities and legal duties under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.
It is hoped the legislation will help fight the problem of metal thefts, which have plagued East Lancashire.
Every scrap metal dealer will be required to have a licence, and operating without one will be a criminal offence.
Under the new legislation, the definition of scrap metal dealers will be extended to include motor salvage operations.
The act, which will come into force from October 1, is aimed at giving local authorities the power to regulate who is, and who is not, a scrap metal dealer, to improve standards.
Councils will be able to refuse to grant a licence where the applicant is judged not to be a suitable person to operate as a scrap metal dealer.
Two types of licence will be in place, one for a site licence, and the other for a mobile collector licence.
Hyndburn Council estimated the fee for a three-year licence will be around £370 for a site licence, and £320 for a collectors’ licence.
Existing legislation was tightened earlier this year, with merchants banned from dealing in cash, and sellers of metal forced to provide ID at the point of sale, in a bid to clamp down on the estimated 1,000 metal thefts in the UK every week, which costs the economy around £220m a year, the government said.
Blackburn with Darwen Council deputy leader Andy Kay said: “This is good news in terms of security of sources. It will make it harder for people who steal it to be able to dispose of their scrap metal.
“We are always concerned about extra responsibilities being placed on the council, but we have to think about the good of our communities.”
Pendle Tory MP Andrew Stephenson said: “This is something many of us have been pressing for. It is bec-oming harder for people who pinch scrap to just weigh it in without checks.
“If it becomes harder, they are less likely to steal it in the first place.”
Darwen Sudell ward Lib Dem councillor Roy Davies said: “It has already been made harder to sell stolen scrap, but there still seem to be a lot of people going round trying to collect it from people’s gardens.”
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