Rural watchdog backs effort to scrap the cash
The theft of metal from farms and rural businesses has grown to epidemic proportions according to landowners in the West Midlands who have now thrown their weight behind a Private Member's Bill which will attempt to thwart the sale of stolen metal.
"Scrap metal is currently big business – and it's no longer restricted to the theft of lead from the Church roof, now it's overhead cables, copper of all kinds – which affect the telecommunications and electricity supply industries - and even barbed wire and other fencing has been stripped out for the value of the scrap," said Caroline Bedell, leader of Staffordshire based rural watchdog, the CLA.
This week, Lancashire MP, Graham Jones brought his "Metal Theft (Protection) Bill" before the House of Commons, and rural business watchdog, the CLA, says it offers a solution to the problem.
Mr Jones says that the reason this type of crime is flourishing is because the regulatory framework surrounding metal recycling is so weak and that, in combination with the elevated international price of metal, effectively creates an incentive to steal.
"Farm yards and rural businesses have always been a prime target for robberies and landowners are currently suffering an epidemic of metal theft. 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," said Mrs Bedell.
Mr Jones's Metal (Protection) Bill proposes six changes:
· Amend the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and replace the current registration scheme with a robust licensing regime, with scrap metal dealers paying a licence fee to fund the regulation of the licence.
"The true cost of the theft is more than the value of the items taken due to lost production time, repairing damage caused, livestock straying due to gates left open or fencing taken down, so we support this effort to bring about a change in the law," said Mrs Bedell.
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Caroline Bedell MRICS FAAV
Caroline leads the Midlands team and has overall responsibility for the management of the CLA’s regional business and membership.
A qualified Chartered Surveyor respected throughout the industry, she also represents the CLA on a wide range of regional committees and panels.
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