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Legitimate dealers left humiliated in war on metal theft

MRW has discovered that heavy-handed police are treating legitimate scrap metal traders like criminals, amid fears that arrests are needed to meet targets and yield to political pressure over metal theft.

Sources in different parts of the country have confided in us that they have been presumed guilty. Some have been arrested in front of local journalists and councillors, and been subjected to DNA tests – only to be released without charge. Others have had materials or money confiscated with no information about when they will be returned.

Our sources suggest that the problem is not isolated to a particular area, but is happening nationwide. This is down to a systematic misunderstanding on the part of police, policy-makers and the media of the industry and how it works.

The government is right: metal theft is a serious issue. So it needs a serious solution – cosmetic action for the sake of the cameras won’t do.  

At present the focus is on licensed merchants – they are more easily identifiable and they can legally be inspected on demand. But by and large the culprits are unlicensed – so they are not identifiable and cannot be searched on demand. The law must be altered to reflect the source of the problem, and police must investigate the real problem, rather than relying on the easy targets.

Finally, in response to popular demand we are extending the entry deadline for the National Recycling Awards to give you two extra weeks to enter! Don’t miss out, enter for free online at by Friday 9 March.

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