Scheme Cracks Down On North Worcestershire Metal Thieves
North Worcestershire scrap dealers are backing a new West Mercia scheme aimed at reducing metal thefts.
Dealers who sign up agree to only accept items accompanied with photo ID and a utility bill, which will be logged along with the registration number of their vehicles, and details of metal sold. In some cases, dealers are also taking sellers' thumbprints.
All 69 dealers within West Mercia have been invited to join the force's voluntary scheme.
Scrap dealers or merchants found to be buying, selling or handling stolen metals will be dealt with appropriately.
Checks on North Worcestershire scrap yards took place today, Thursday 11 October, along with roadside checks on vans and lorries, as part of a national day of action tackling metal theft.
In Wyre Forest, officers visited Kidderminster Metals in Lisle Avenue where staff are taking thumbprints and registering sellers' details.
PC Phil Green of the Aggborough, Spennells and Rural East Safer Neighbourhood Team said it would enable police to trace thieves if metal was later found to be stolen
He said: "Dealers such as Kidderminster Metals have regular dealers that they know and trust, but the thumbprint and registration scheme will help us identify metal thieves who may be just trying their luck.
"Reputable companies like Kidderminster Metals can be of enormous help to us by helping prevent and detect offences, and we are building good working relationships with them.
"The scheme puts a stop to the practice of unscrupulous dealers buying metal on a no questions asked basis, and we hope that by taking away the market for stolen metal, the number of offences will fall."
In conjunction with staff from Wyre Forest District Council's licensing department, police also patrolled main routes between North Worcestershire and the Black Country, stopping waste carriers and checking their loads, as well as ensuring their documents were in order.
One driver was reported for the unroadworthy condition of his vehicle, and will be summoned to court.
In Bromsgrove, officers from the Bromsgrove South Safer Neighbourhood Team visited a recycling centre in the Stoke Prior area, and were pleased to discover it was also on board with taking thumbprints and registering ID.
In Redditch, the town's three main scrap metal dealers have all signed up to the scheme and are supportive of it.
Today's crackdown across West Mercia, codenamed Operation Tornado, was funded by British Transport Police.
As part of efforts to tighten up on the scrap industry nationally, changes to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act will outlaw all cash transactions at metal recycling yards across England and Wales and there will be a significant increase in fines for those dealers who fail to abide by the rules.