Voluntary measures to combat metal theft are being rolled out in the north-west of England following successful implementation in other areas of the country.
Operation Tornado, run by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and supported by the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), aims to make it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal through an identification scheme.
The scheme will be introduced from 9 May across Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.
It has previously been used in the north-east, Yorkshire and Humber, the East Midlands and Norfolk.
Tornado spokesman chief inspector Robin Edwards said people wishing to sell metal to participating scrap dealers would be required to provide proof of ID and address.
The scheme “has been designed not to inhibit those dealers that operate legitimate businesses, but to remove unscrupulous dealers who operate outside the law”, he added.
“We are hoping all registered scrap metal dealers in the region will sign up to be involved to help fight the stolen metal trade and make it more difficult for thieves to make money by targeting our communities for metal.”
Ian Hetherington, BMRA director-general, said: “It’s important to note that many of the problems encountered by legitimate metal recyclers lie with the ineffective enforcement of existing regulations and the proliferation of the illegal, unregulated trade, and not with the majority who operate highly regulated, licensed and permitted sites.
“BMRA also fully supports a nationally coordinated approach from the police and the Environment Agency with stronger sentencing and appropriate penalties for those stealing metal and those setting out to dispose of it.”
As reported by MRW a cash ban for the trade of scrap metal could he in force within months, and ministers are already drawing up new legislation to completely overhaul the licensing of the industry.