New guidance has been issued to prosecutors in Scotland to ensure metal thieves are dealt with robustly.
The new Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ‘Metal Theft Policy’ was issued in response to the increasing incidence of metal theft.
Scottish prosecutors will now take a robust approach when it comes to prosecuting cases of metal theft.
Measures include solemn proceedings being raised where there is evidence the offence is connected to serious and organised crime and all cases will be considered under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Impact statements will be submitted to highlight other consequences of metal theft in addition to the financial impact.
Solicitor General for Scotland Lesley Thomson QC said: “Metal theft and the damage it can cause can have a significant impact on everyday lives. It is not victimless. It can affect us all through the desecration of war memorials and buildings of faith or the disruption to travel and telecommunication services.
“I hope that our robust prosecution policy will deter those thieves whose greed can cause harmful economic and emotional consequences for individuals and communities across Scotland. Prosecutors will ensure that the opportunity to disrupt criminals through the use of the Proceeds of Crime legislation is maximised.”
Metal theft will be prosecuted under the common law of theft. Other offences may include culpable and reckless conduct, malicious mischief and reset.
The Scottish Government is also currently looking at a new licensing structure for scrap dealers. It also intends to introduce cashless payments for metal recyclers.