Metal recycler praises early impact of anti-metal theft scheme Operation Tornado


International Waste Metals commercial manager Chris Trotter has said that the Operation Tornado scheme to reduce metal theft is already working.

Operation Tornado is a scheme that has been spearheaded by the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office, British Metals Recycling Association, British Transport Police and Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland Police. It means that participating scrap dealers in Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland will require anyone selling metal to them to provide proof of identity by producing a photo card driving licence including an address, or a passport or national ID card supported by a utility bill which is under three months old and must contain an address.


The trial has been taking place since 3 January and was formally launched by Home Office Minister Lord Henley at International Waste Metals in Shildon, County Durham last week.

Its commercial manager Chris Trotter said the scheme was already “going very well”.

He added: “There was the worry that the enhanced checks would deter customers, but that hasn’t been the case at all. We advertised heavily to our customers that we would be requiring additional identification and only one customer on the first day forgot to bring it. Since then, we have had the normal amount of customers who have all brought ID.

“It hasn’t changed the way we operate, but gives us more security as a company, as it means that if someone brings stolen metal to us, we have done everything we can as a company to find out who brought it to us.”

He added that the success so far of the scheme should mean that there would be no need for the introduction of a cashless scheme that has been put forward by MP Graham Jones in a Private Members Bill.  He said: “It is my personal opinion that if we remove the cash element, we run the risk of driving legitimate business underground. At least with the cash system, if someone brings us stolen metal we can go through the audit trail including the CCTV system and registration plate logs to find out who brought it.”