ENA calls on Government to support Metal Theft Prevention Bill

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 4:15PM

Following the introduction of the Metal Theft (Prevention) Bill by Graham Jones MP earlier today Energy Networks Association (ENA) are calling for the Government to support the Bill and give it the Parliamentary time necessary to get it onto the statute book before the Parliamentary session ends next spring.

The purpose of the Bill is to stop thieves using the scrap metal industry as a means of disposing of stolen metal. Stop their means of passing it on and you stop the motive for the theft.

Graham Jones said in the Commons today: “This regulation would allow legitimate, law-abiding and socially responsible scrap metal dealers to flourish. Indeed, some scrap metal dealers already perform many of the requirements of this bill as best practice.”

David Smith Chief Executive of ENA said: “The issue has reached a point of criticality where the public, the media and politicians are calling for change. We believe the Bill offers the perfect vehicle to deliver change quickly. This is something that is being called for by a universal coalition.  We are not seeking to place red tape on business but to prevent illegal activity.”

ENA have been working with Graham Jones on the Bill for some time. It has six key elements as outline by Graham Jones today:

Firstly; we need to amend the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. Instead of the current registration scheme, the UK needs a robust licensing regime, with scrap metal dealers paying a licence fee to fund the regulation of the licence.

Second; property obtained through theft should be regarded as criminal assets. This would allow the provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to apply.

Third; in line with alcohol licensing powers, police authorities should have the power to search and investigate all premises owned and operated by a scrap metal dealer, and to close scrap metal dealers where criminally obtained materials are discovered. 

Fourth; trade in scrap metals should be restricted to cashless payments, and there should be a requirement that scrap metal must not be sold or processed until payments have been cleared. Photo identification and CCTV should be mandatory to identify sellers of scrap and their vehicles. This is a policy which has been successfully introduced in other countries.

Fifth; magistrates should have powers to add licence restrictions and prevent closed yards from re-opening.

Finally; the Theft Act and related Acts should be amended so that suspects caught should be charged and if found guilty, sentenced in such a way that is proportionate to the consequences of the crime, not the scrap metal value.

ENDS

Notes to editors

An e-petition has been launched in support of the Bill -
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/21165 and it has 3000 signatures already.

Figures:
An independent report by Deloitte has shown metal theft has cost the energy networks £60m ACPO estimates metal theft nationally has cost £1bn with 7,000-10,000 incidents each year HM Revenue and Customs have estimated the lost revenue from the industry is £5.6bn

Energy Networks Association has been working as part of a cross-industry group including BT and Network Rail, which aims to raise the issue of metal theft and its impact as well as bring about a change in the law.

ENA represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.

For further information please contact:

Tim Field, Press and Public Affairs Executive
Energy Networks Association
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 706 5157
M: +44 (0)7725 372 758
W: www.energynetworks.org