New Bill will target blight of metal thefts in rural areasRural businesses have thrown their weight behind a parliamentary bid to thwart the sale of stolen metal.
Soaring prices have seen the theft of metal from farms and rural firms in East Anglia and the East Midlands grow to epidemic proportions over recent months. Overhead cables, copper and even barbed wire and other fencing have been stripped from villages and rural areas for the value of the scrap.
In a bid to thwart the thieves, Lancashire MP Graham Jones brought his Metal Theft (Protection) Bill before the House of Commons last month. It is due to have its second reading on January 20.
The Private Member's Bill is being supported by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which says it offers a solution to the problem.
"Scrap metal is currently big business and it's no longer restricted to the theft of lead from the church roof," said CLA East Director Nicola Currie.
"Mr Jones's planned changes to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and his other proposals are essential if this blight is to be ended quickly and effectively."
The Metal (Protection) Bill proposes six changes. It would replace the current registration scheme with a robust licensing regime, with scrap metal dealers paying a fee to fund regulation.
Secondly, it would allow property obtained through theft to be regarded as criminal assets – enabling prosecution under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Thirdly, police authorities would be granted the power to search and investigate all premises owned and operated by a scrap metal dealer. They would also be able to close scrap metal dealers where criminally obtained materials had been discovered.
Fourthly, the trade in scrap metals would be restricted to cashless payments.
Fifthly, magistrates would be granted powers to add licence restrictions and prevent closed yards from reopening.
Finally, the Theft Act and related laws would be amended so sentencing would be proportionate to the consequences of the crime, not just the metal value.
Mrs Currie added: "Stolen metal is being traded too easily within the scrap metal industry. Hundreds of CLA members have been victims of metal theft, with some losing thousands of pounds repairing and replacing stolen lead and other metals. Thefts from heritage buildings are particularly expensive and time-consuming for owners because the building is made difficult or impossible to insure in the future.
"Banning cash sales would prevent anonymous sales because the metal could always be traced back to the person who sold it to the dealer. This is how France, Belgium and parts of the United States have clamped down on metal theft.
"Out of the scrap metal industry's £5billion turnover, an estimated £1billion is carried out in cash."
CLA East would like to hear from people who have suffered from metal theft to help make its case to Government. Please email the CLA at email@example.com or visit the CLA website www.cla.org.uk for more information about the Association.
CLA Member Login
Nicola has a Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Farm Management from the Royal Agricultural College (RAC) and seven years experience as a Tenant Farmer, building up a pedigree dairy herd from scratch. She has also spent time in professional practice in Estate and Farm Management. This background has provided Nicola with a useful grounding to work for the interests of the CLA East region’s farming and rural businesses.
Have a problem - need advice?
Contact the regional office - the sooner you call, the sooner we may be able to help.
Join the CLA today
The CLA Game Fair 2013
CLA Events in your area
To receive our regular email newsletter containing advice and the latest news affecting the region - contact the office or send your email address and membership number to firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2013 Country Land and Business Association Limited (CLA). All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature without prior written permission of the copyright holder except as expressly permitted by law.
No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action in reliance on or as a result of the material included in or omitted in this website can be or is accepted by the author(s), the CLA or its officers or trustees or employees or any other persons.
The Advisory Services are made available to members on the basis that members' rights to compensation and the liability (if any) of CLA and its officers and/or its staff advisers, are restricted in the following ways. In the event of any advice given by any CLA staff adviser being given negligently or otherwise being incorrect no liability whatsoever is accepted by the CLA or its officers or by its staff advisers concerned
(a) towards any person who is not the current CLA member to whom the advice was directly given,
(b) to any person in the respect of consequential loss or loss of profits, or
(c) to any person for any sum exceeding £50,000 in respect of any one enquiry (whether made or responded to orally or in writing and whether dealt with at one time or over a period of time).
Any person making use of the Advisory Services accepts such restrictions. Members should refer to appropriate professional advisers in private practice before taking any particular course of action potentially or actually involving any substantial amounts of money.
Please note that whilst the advisers are able to advise on a wide range of subjects relating to land ownership, they cannot act in place of a member's own solicitor, accountant, surveyor and tax specialist by, for example, drafting documents or corresponding on their behalf and may be precluded, by the rules of their own professions, from advising one CLA member against another CLA member in the case of conflict.
Solicitors Indemnity Fund . Solicitors in the CLA Legal Team are not covered by the Solicitors Indemnity Fund in relation to professional negligence in relation to any advice given by them.
Please note that from time to time telephone calls maybe recorded for training purposes.