Shropshire Metal Thieves – Your Time Is Up!
Metal thieves could soon have nowhere to sell their ill-gotten gains in Shropshire after county scrap dealers signed up to a new police initiative.
A UK-wide initiative, lead by British Transport Police, asks traders to sign up to a voluntary scheme requiring anyone wanting to sell scrap metal to provide photographic identification.
The vast majority of scrap businesses have already joined, with the rest waiting on the approval of senior management or owners before they can take part.
Sergeant Tim Lever, who has been co-ordinating the operation in Shropshire, said he hoped to eventually have every single scrap metal merchant signed up to the scheme, which will remove the main market for metal thieves stolen goods.
On Thursday 11th October 2012, Shropshire officers will take part in a ‘day of action' to target those transporting scrap in the county. Throughout the day, spot checks will be carried out on any vehicles carrying scrap to ensure the cargo is genuine and that the drivers are properly licensed and insured.
"While the vast majority of scrap dealers are law abiding, a lot of stolen metal does get sold on to those who turn a blind eye or openly accept such items," he said.
"We want every scrap metal dealer in Shropshire to sign up and help us tackle a crime which can cause real misery to its victims.
"Often the theft of metal leaves its victims with other problems, such as leaking roofs loss of electricity or, as following the theft of cable earlier this year from an MRI scanner at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, potential delays for patients receiving vital treatment.
"It is not a victimless crime and police are doing everything we can to deal with it. We have more than 20 scrap metal dealerships in Shropshire. Over three-quarters have signed up and I'm confident the remaining few will too."
Metal theft continues to be a problem for police across the country, with even items such as shopping trolleys stolen for their scrap value.
Three Royal Mail post boxes have been stolen from the Oswestry and Ellesmere areas this week, apparently taken for the few pounds the thief could make selling them on as scrap.
Overnight between Monday 8th October and Tuesday 9th October 2012, small mail boxes mounted on poles in Park Drive and Whittington Road, Oswestry and in Shellbrook Hill, Sodylt.
The offender or offenders managed to gain entry to the post boxes themselves, before unbolting them and leaving the posts in situ.
The thefts have been linked to several others across the border in the Wrexham area and officers have liaised with colleagues in North Wales Police.
Police Constable Melanie Davies, who is investigating the thefts, appealed for anyone who might have information about any of the incidents to contact her on 101. Information can also be passed on anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
From December this year, it will be illegal for a scrap metal dealer to pay for goods in cash, instead having to pay by cheque or bank transaction so sellers are easier to trace should goods turn out to be stolen.
The photographic ID scheme, which will also require a utility bill and for dealers to log vehicle details and the weight and description of anything bought, compliments this new law.