Police in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset have launched the anti-metal theft scheme Operation Tornado in their areas.
Anyone going to a scrap yard to sell metal will be asked for evidence of identity in the form of a passport, ID card or photo driving licence backed by proof of address.
Regional lead on metal theft Superintendant Mark Saunders said: “Operation Tornado is already in operation in other parts of the country having been trialled successfully earlier in the year in Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland.
“These three police areas have seen a significant drop, approximately 60 per cent with Durham achieving a 74 per cent reduction, in the levels of opportunist metal theft, without seeing a rise in other opportunistic crime types, which is extremely positive.
“We have been successfully working with scrap dealers for a number of years with an aim of decreasing the market in which thieves can operate both as a force and as a region and this is a natural progression. Because this is a national scheme, thieves are going to find it difficult to dispose of their stolen goods wherever they go. By working in this way, we will avoid merely displacing the crime.”