Liberal Democrat Justice Minister Lord McNally has laid down an opt-out in the Legal Aid Bill that will enable itinerant collectors to be able to buy and sell scrap metal in cash.
As part of the same Bill, scrap dealers with a fixed address will have to provide identification and will receive a traceable non-cash payment.
British Metals Recycling Association director general Ian Hetherington said: “Allowing itinerant collectors such as rag and bone men a special exemption to trade in cash will undermine the legitimate industry that has spent hundreds of millions of pounds complying with environmental regulation on its sites.
“The Government is putting itinerant collectors at a commercial advantage and effectively penalising our members who are geographically fixed.”
As reported last month in SCM news, MP Graham Jones who has campaigned for a crackdown on metal theft including the banning of cash transactions believes itinerant traders are behind a lot of metal theft.