East Anglia: CLA welcomes Bill to tackle metal thefts

RURAL businesses have thrown their weight behind a scheme to stop thieves cashing in on stolen metal.

Soaring scrap prices have seen metal thefts from farms and rural firms in East Anglia increase in recent months.

Villages and rural areas have been hit hardest with thefts of overhead cables, copper and even barbed wire.

The Country Land& Business Association (CLA) has announced its support for the Metal Theft (Protection) Bill which was brought before the House of Commons by Lancashire MP Graham Jones last month and is due to have its second reading on January 20.

Nicola Currie, CLA regional director, said scrap metal had become big business and was not restricted to stealing lead from church roofs. “Stolen metal is being traded too easily within the scrap metal industry,” she said.

“Hundreds of CLA members have been victims of metal theft with some losing thousands of pounds repairing and replacing stolen lead and other metals.”

She added that banning cash deals would prevent anonymous sales as the metal could be traced to the person who sold it to the dealer.

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The bill proposes a series of changes including the introduction of a fee-based licensing regime for scrap dealers, trading in scrap metals being restricted to cashless payments and powers for the police to search and investigate premises owned and run by scrap metal dealers, and to close scrap metal dealers where criminally obtains materials have been discovered.