Chancellor targets metal theft

For immediate release: Tuesday 29 November 2011

The Government’s £5m metal theft taskforce announced in the Autumn statement is welcome but “swift and firm” legislative change is needed say Energy Networks Association (ENA).

ENA has also welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to tackle metal theft by focussing on the regulation of the scrap metal industry, but say that action must be taken soon to change the law if the blow is to be dealt to this dangerous and destructive crime.

Commenting on the announcement, ENA Chief Executive David Smith said:

“Every day that we fail to change the law is another day we risk an innocent person being killed. That the Government has recognised the need to address the crime of metal theft is welcomed. However, we need legislative change now and Government action against this scourge on our society must be swift and firm.”

Commenting on the consideration of ‘longer term options’ to tackle metal thieves and scrap metal dealers who handle stolen metal, David went on to say:

“Stopping the crime of metal theft means stopping the ability to benefit from it. Without a change in the outdated law of Steptoe and Son, long term change cannot be achieved. We need a robust licensing scheme, supported by stronger police and Magistrate powers to close and keep closed disreputable yards, and the industry must move to a cashless system for transactions.”

A Private Member’s Bill from Graham Jones MP earlier this month set out a number of legislative changes supported by all the industries and organisations affected by the crime. Details of this can be found here.


Notes to editors

The ‘National Infrastructure Plan 2011’ can be found here and metal theft features on pages 11, 107 and 116.

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
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