POLICE joined forces with the Environmental Agency and Worcestershire County Council’s regulatory services for a surprise inspection of two Malvern scrap dealers.

The officers were joined on their mission by Lord Faulkner of Worcester, a guiding force behind the passing of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, which outlawed the cash sales of scrap metal.

Lord Faulkner said he was delighted to take part. He said: “This year’s increases in the prices of copper and other metals meant that metal theft is growing, so the need for enforcement of the laws and regulations controlling scrap metal dealing is needed more than ever.

“The increasing rate of metal theft has prompted me to call for a Parliamentary debate in the New Year.”

The joint forces visited two scrap merchants on the Spring Lane industrial estate, Malvern Link, with no warning on Friday morning, Malvern Metals and CRS.

As soon as the the inspecting team arrived at the first yard, the staff called the registered owner, Carl Smith, who arrived a short while later.

Police officers, the Environment Agency inspectors and the Regulatory Services officials each spent time quizzing Mr Smith and the yard staff about the way the yard was operated, the business’s record-keeping procedures.

Police sergeant Carl Jones said: “We have spoken to Mr Smith and impressed on him the importance of improving his record-keeping. We well be keeping a close eye on him to see that he implements these improvements.”

The team moved on to CRS, where they spent a far shorter time.

Sgt Jones said: “The compliance here is really excellent. We couldn’t ask for better. It is a very good example of a well-run yard.”

The yard’s general manager Russell Havard said properly-run businesses welcome such inspections. He said: “They are a good thing.

“They assure the public that there are scrap dealers who they can use, knowing they are dealing with an ethical, properly-run business.”

Mark Roberts of the Environment Agency said: "We absolutely approve of working in tandem with the other organisations. It's very useful because we all have different things that we are looking for."