From today, cash payments for scrap metal are no longer allowed between scrap metal dealers and customers.
Amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act will mean that all cash transactions for metal at recycling yards will be outlawed.
However, itinerant traders of scrap metal will still be able to trade with cash unless the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill going though Parliament at present becomes law.
The upper limit of fines for breaking the law or breaching the condition of their license has also been removed for scrap metal dealers.
British Transport Police deputy chief constable Paul Crowther said: “Despite recent reductions in offending, metal theft remains a serious threat to the infrastructure of Great Britain and we will only make a real difference if we continue to take positive action in conjunction with strengthened legislation.
“For several years metal thieves and unscrupulous metal recyclers have exploited outdated legislation to make profit from criminal activity. This stops now.
“Changes to the LASPO Act have outlawed all cash transaction at metal recycling yards across England and Wales and there has been a significant increase in fines for those dealers who abide by the rules.
“These measures will seriously curtail the market for stolen metal as there will now be a clear audit trail back to those bringing communities into recycling yards and severe sanctions for those who step out of line.
“The step forward in legislation is welcome and significant, but will not work in isolation. Industry, police and other agencies must continue to work together to enforce the new legislation, support further modernisation of the law and take action against those criminals who continue to target the very infrastructure we have all come to rely upon.”