Stricter identification requirements for scrap metal traders could be trialled across the north-east in a bid to tackle the national problem of metal theft.
The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) is in the early stages of working with its members in the region on a proposed three to six month trial as part of its role in the Association of Police Chief Officers’ Metal Theft Working Group.
Currently, under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, traders must record a customer’s full name, address including the door number, type of material bought, price of the material and the customer’s vehicle registration.
A trader in the region told MRW that the BMRA has put forward proposals for scrap traders to ask to see a customer’s driving licence or utility bill in addition to the standard information required.
BMRA director general Ian Hetherington did not specify what proposals were being discussed, highlighting that plans are in their early stages.
He said: “The proposed trial includes more stringent identification processes and will assess how effective they could be in tackling metal theft. We are in very early stages of the project and continue to work with our members and the police to agree an appropriate course of action.”
According to the source, a meeting of BMRA members situated in the north-east will take place on 27 September.
“Plans have been suggested and not firmed up yet, so the meeting will be an open discussion,” the source said. He added that other suggestions to enforce stricter identification methods included taking finger prints.
“I don’t know if asking customers for their driving licence or a utility bill will work because who carries them around with them?” he added.
“The thing is that those scrap traders who are not members of the BMRA do not have to ask for this extra information, so if a customer comes into my yard and they don’t have the additional identification I cannot buy that material and instead have to turn them away. The customer can then just sell the metal to a non-member.”