Home Office publish guidance on the offence of buying scrap metal for cash


Guidance has been published by the Home Office on what scrap metal recyclers need to do to ensure they don’t break the law by trading in cash.

However, this guidance may only be relevant for around six months if Richard Ottaway’s Private Members’ Scrap Metal Dealers Bill becomes law.


The introduction to the guidance states: “The changes aim to remove the rewards that make metal theft such a low risk criminal enterprise for metal thieves and unscrupulous dealers.

“The revised legislation creates a new criminal offence which prohibits scrap metal dealers from paying for scrap metal in cash, only permitting electronic payment or payment by cheque.”

Itinerant collectors will be exempted if they have registered with their local authority and have obtained a separate order that exempts them from certain record keeping requirements.

Direct debits, BACS payments, credit transfers and mobile banking are all permitted as are cheques and reloadable electronic money products which are issued to a named account and undertakes full due diligence.

Any payment by cheque or electronic transfer that is anonymous is not allowed.

Scrap metal dealers will also be required to keep a printed copy of the electronic transaction receipt or a copy of the cheque. Records that do not contain this will be considered incomplete and an offence under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act.

Local authorities and the police will be responsible for checking the records of scrap dealers and will be responsible for ensuring compliance under the cashless trading provisions.

This will be implemented from 3 December 2012.