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Council vow to crack down on scrap cheats
A CLAMPDOWN on rogue scrap metal dealers is being launched in Worcester – with council chiefs insisting they will prosecute those caught out.
The city council’s licensing committee has agreed to adopt tough new government legislation designed to keep tabs on the trade. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act is an attempt to reduce the widening problems of people stealing metal from homes, churches and schools to sell it on. It means up to two separate licences need to be purchased by people working in the industry, one for a particular business location and the other for the particular dealer.
It also gives councils powers to undertake regular inspections of dealers’ premises, and take steps to prosecute those avoiding the rules. If people get caught without a licence, the fine can be as high as £5,000 in court.
The committee agreed to adopt the legislation, despite some concern it would place pressure on the council to do inspections.
Councillor Richard Udall said: “This is good news – for a long time I have thought this is an industry which needs better regulation. That view is shared by some scrap metal businesses themselves, who think bad dealers undermine the good they do.”
Councillor Simon Cronin said: “There are two aspects to this, one is the sites themselves, which will be relatively straightforward to identify.
“The problem is with the collectors – a lot of them tend to flit in and out of this and there is a grey area, as I see it, over whether we can find these guys.
“There will be pressure put on our enforcement – we need to be comfortable we can tackle this over the next few months and into the longer term future.”
Niall McMenamin, a senior licensing officer, said: “We’ve got the power to inspect sites and if we find people not complying with the act, we’ll take the appropriate action.
“We’ve got an enforcement team and if any information is passed on to us, we’ll investigate.”
A site licence costs £290, while a collectors one is £145.