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Call to reconsider banning cash deals for scrap

The Home Office has been urged to crack down on illegal scrap operators before banning the use of cash in trade transactions.

Disallowing scrap traders to use cash in metal transactions was proposed following a rise in the number of metal thefts around the country, with offenders capitalising on the increasing value of ferrous and non-ferrous metal.

“Trading with cash may not necessarily imply a company is doing anything improper or illegal,” British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) director general Ian Hetherington said when defending the use of cash for scrap metal transactions.

Hetherington told MRW that he believed the eradication of cash transactions should not be the Government’s first action in its bid to halt illegal scrap metal operations.

“The Home Office is keen to pursue stopping the transactions of cash at scrap yards. But our case is a very simple one; we have a very large amount of environment regulations at the moment and the problem we have is that the current law us not being fully policed,” he said.

“This means we have a large number of illegal operators, which are not subject to the same environmental constraints as legal sites, and they operate below the radar.

Hetherington wants the current regulations, which govern scrap traders, to be enforced before any new regulation is introduced.

“The Government can change as many laws as they want but our members’ fear is that if we expect not to deal in cash, a lot of legitimate trade which wants to use cash will pass into the illegal market. We would like to talk about abolishing cash transactions after we have seen evidence that this will help stop illegal trade.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • The level of thefts - particularly copper- is now so high that there has to be a clamp down and making it difficult to sell stolen goods anonymously is one approach. But if banning cash is the chosen approach it has to be fully enforced otherwise it is another case of the responsible guys carrying an extra burden while the bad guys carry on unaffected and probably pick up even more business.

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  • Can't deal in cheques either because they are being phased out. If electronic transactions are carried out the banks will make a fortune at the cost of everyone else. There is scope for too many problems trying to mandate no cash deals. Why not "document" transactions properly with video/photo evidence taken for each sale? That could be a comparatively cheap way of keeping track whilst not placing too much emphasis on administrative burden.

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