Scrap metal dealers to undergo criminal record checks as the council seek to stop "unacceptable levels of metal theft" (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Scrap metal dealers to undergo criminal record checks as the council seek to stop "unacceptable levels of metal theft"
SCRAP metal dealers will undergo criminal record checks in order to trade, under new rules passed by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
The council now has the power to issue licences to scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators after the Government introduced the Scrap Metal Dealers Act.
The new law, which came into force on Tuesday makes it compulsory for scrap metal dealers to carry a licence - similar to what pubs and shops need to sell alcohol.
The law also makes it illegal for a dealer to buy scrap metal in cash, and gives both the council, and the police powers to conduct spot checks.
The tighter regulations are to curb metal theft which is the fasted growing crime type according to research by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The growth has been fuelled by a 550 per cent increase in the price of ferrous metal since 2001.
On Wednesday last week the borough's licensing committee outlined what the council will check before granting a licence.
Dealers will be asked to provide a “basic disclosure” certificate which details any unspent convictions.
Refusal to supply one or if it reveals a criminal past could lead the council to refuse a licence, or revoke an existing licence.
Councillor Hayley Eachus, Cabinet member for community services said the beefed up licensing regime will "reduce unacceptable levels of metal theft".
“A rise in the price of metal has led to a huge increase in metal theft across the country in recent years,” she said.
“The new Act also gives the council the power to determine the suitability of applicants and some of their employees to hold a licence or manage a scrap metal site.
“It is hoped that this will reduce the unacceptable levels of metal theft by making cash transactions impossible and requiring the source of all metal that is sold to be declared and recorded.”
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