The police scheme to combat metal theft has started to spread across the country with Yorkshire police forces now embracing Operation Tornado.
From yesterday, Operation Tornado has been launched by North Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Police and Humberside Police with involvement from the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office, British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) and British Transport Police.
North Yorkshire Police acting chief inspector Sarah-Jane Sanderson said: “As from 2 April, anyone who wants to sell metal to participating dealers in North Yorkshire will now be required to provide proof of this identity by producing either a photo driving licence, passport or national identity card – which must show an address – supported by a utility bill under three months old which also shows their address.
“This is another tool which will help the police stem the tide of metal theft by cutting off criminals’ cash-flow. We have watched the North East pilot with interest and are extremely pleased that we are able to adopt the initiative.
“The aim is to encourage the estimated 50 to 60 registered scrap metal dealers across North Yorkshire to sign up to the scheme to help fight the trade in stolen metal, making it more difficult for thieves to make money as we will have removed all their avenues to sell metal on.”
BMRA director general Ian Hetherington added: “Metals theft is a real problems for the metals industry and BMRA continues to advise the Government on the issue.
“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 Metal Dealers Act, which we all want.
“It’s important to note that many of the problems encountered by legitimate metal recyclers 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.”
Operation Tornado was piloted by police forces in the North East and has also been rolled out in the East Midlands.