A trial is to take place with the backing of the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) and the police on an identification scheme that will make it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal.
Operation Tornado will involve the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Home Office, BMRA, British Transport Police, and Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland police.
ACPO spokesperson Chief Inspector Robin Edwards said: “As of 3 January 2012, those selling scrap metal to participating dealers in Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland will now be required to provide proof of their identity by producing either a photo card driving license including as address, or a passport or national ID card supported with a utility bill, which must be under three months old and show their address. This will remain in place for six months initially with the option to extend the term of the trial as it progresses.
“The trial, which has been developed in partnership with the British Metals Recycling Association, is one of a number of measures that is currently being explored to restrict the sale and movement of stolen metal. It has been designed not to inhibit those dealers that operate legitimate businesses, but to remove unscrupulous dealers who operate outside the law.
“We are hoping that all the estimated 240 registered scrap dealers in the region will sign up to be involved in this trial to help fight the stolen metal trade and make it more difficult for thieves to make money by targeting our communities for metal.”
BMRA director general Ian Hetherington added: “BMRA and our members are actively supporting Operation Tornado. The measures being trialled are sensible and provide the basis for a reform of the Scrap Metals Dealers Act, which we all want.
“It’s important to note that many of the problems encountered by legitimate metal recycler lie with the ineffective enforcement of existing regulations and the proliferation of the illegal, unregulated trade, and not with the majority who operate highly regulated, licensed and permitted sites.”