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Metal thefts down by a third

Fab Bundle auction for used parts
Metal thefts have fallen by a third in the past year, as councils lead efforts to combat unscrupulous thieves targeting churches, desecrating war memorials and causing disruption by stealing electric cables and metal from railway lines.


Latest figures show there were 40,680 metal thefts in England and Wales in 2013/14 – down from 59,788 in the previous 12 months.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the decline in metal thefts – which cost the economy around £770 million a year - follows the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act which came into force in October 2013 alongside a range of other measures to tackle the crime.

Under the law, every scrap metal dealer had to obtain a licence from their local council to trade. Town halls have been able to refuse or revoke licences, have new powers of entry and inspection and the ability to shut down rogue dealers.

The LGA said councils have issued nearly 8,000 licences to scrap metal dealers since the Act came into force.

It is also now illegal for anyone to buy or sell scrap metal with cash while traders have to keep records of names and addresses of scrap metal suppliers. This is increasing traceability for all transactions and making it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen metal to scrapyards.

Councils across the country have been assisting the police to prosecute unlicensed traders and shut down scrap metal businesses that break the law.

Other figures from the LGA include:
  • Infrastructure-related metal thefts – including from railway lines, church roofs and machinery – dropped by 41 per cent in the past year
  • The number of metal theft offences recorded each month more than halved from 6,609 in April 2012 to under 3,000 in March 2014
  • The South-east region (Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley) saw the biggest fall in metal thefts dropping 46 per cent from 7,580 in 2012/13 to 4,105 in 2013/14
  • Metal thefts in London fell 44 per cent from 3,536 in 2012/13 to 1,966 in 2013/14
  • The north-west region (Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside) saw metal thefts drop 40 per cent from 8,231 in 2012/13 to 4,907 in 2013/14.

The LGA is urging the Government to continue investing in council and police efforts to co-ordinate enforcement action and gather intelligence to target and disrupt criminal networks and keep up the pressure on metal thieves.

Here at atfPro we feel the large drop in the commody prices may also have a significant influence on the drop in metal thefts reported. April 2015

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