BMRA calls for urgent reform as Legal Aid Bill set to become law

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The British Metals Recycling Association  (BMRA) has urged the Government to put in place a clear and rapid timetable to reform the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (1964).

Yesterday, amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill were accepted in a House of Commons vote that will introduce a number of measures to combat metal theft including making the use of cash to purchase scrap metal an offence for fixed site scrap dealers. However, registered itinerant traders will still be able to trade using cash payments.

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BMRA director general Ian Hetherington said: “BMRA has stated time and again that simply banning cash alone will not achieve its purpose of making it more difficult to dispose of stolen metal while a rash of illegal scrap metal sites continue to trade. Instead, a cash ban needs to be part of a more thorough approach.

“The Government has already acknowledged the need to replace the Scrap Metal Dealers Act as soon as possible as it currently allows large numbers of operators to operate outside the licensing and inspection regime. It’s now imperative that regulatory reforms are brought forward without delay and are implemented alongside a ban on cash in order for it to be effective in tackling metal theft while protecting legitimate businesses.”

The BMRA also welcomes stronger police powers of entry at illegal site as it puts them on the level playing field with the law-abiding majority. But it also wants to see complete reform of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (1964) to remove the existing loopholes that exist in the law.