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'Time to act on metal theft', says minister

Home Office minister James Brokenshire has been answering questions in the Commons on government action to tackle metal theft.

Nine MPs tabled questions on the issue for Home Office questions – said to be a record on one subject.

Brokenshire agreed with MPs that legislation was neede to reverse the rise in metal thefts, estimated to cost the UK economy £770m a year.

He condemned “so many sickening crimes” of desecration of memorials by metal thieves. He said the Scrap Metal Dealers Act was “no longer fit for purpose” and the government taskforce on metal theft, announced in the Autumn Statement, will examine banning cash trade, strengthening enforcement and increasing intelligence gathering and coordination.

MPs asking questions included Conservatives Adam Holloway, Craig Whittaker, Mark Garnier, David Morris and Nadine Dorries, and Labour members Ian Austin and Robert Flello.

There have been growing calls for the legislation to be changed to tackle concern at loss of metals from churches and other public places.

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