ENA warns against the serious mistake of metal theft exemptions for itinerant traders

For immediate release – Monday 19 March 2012

On the eve of the debate in the House of Lords that will mark a significant step forward in tackling metal theft, Energy Networks Association (ENA) warns against an exemption for itinerant traders and supports Lord Faulkner of Worcester’s fight to remove it.

As previously announced by the Home Secretary the amendment creates a cashless regime, provision of increased penalties and improved powers should they suspect cash transactions are taking place. These changes had also been confirmed to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Combating Metal Theft by Lord Henley.

However, a major concern has arisen through the exemption of itinerant traders that threatens to undermine the significant step forward the Government has taken. ENA Chief Executive David Smith said:

"Overall we welcome the amendments but an exemption of this kind is a serious mistake and fundamentally undermines the bold spirit and intention of the cashless system. Without the inclusion of itinerant traders a large amount of trade in stolen metal will continue.

"Arguments that a cashless system cannot be mobile are spurious at best when one of the oldest trades of a market stall now accepts payment by card. It would be a tragedy if this loophole is not removed"

This position has wide ranging support from victims and the metal recycling industry itself such as English Heritage, Network Rail, BT, War Memorials Trust, SITA UK and the British Metals Recycling Association.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The amendments have been made to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill in the House of Lords and Lord Faulkner of Worcester has promised to fight to remove it - http://bit.ly/FOtPL4 

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 MCIPR
Press and Public Affairs Executive
Energy Networks Association
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