MP calls for tougher laws for metal theft

Police and other agencies inspect one of the four scrap yards in the Calderdale area in relation to a day of action to target scrap metal thieves
Police and other agencies inspect one of the four scrap yards in the Calderdale area in relation to a day of action to target scrap metal thieves
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TOUGH new laws to stop the scourge of the metal thieves are being called for by a Calderdale MP.

Craig Whittaker, MP for the Calder Valley, asked during a debate in the House of Commons for backing for legislation to clamp down on rogue dealers who trade in stolen metal.

He said: “Calder Valley private and social landlords have reported to me the rising number of instances of houses in between tenancies being totally ripped apart — including water pipes, gas pipes and, indeed, electric wiring, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.”

As reported by the Courier, the rising cost of metal has seen Calderdale and the rest of the country hit by an epidemic of gangs stealing from homes, businesses, railways, schools and churches.

Police have been carrying out a series of operations to tackle metal thieves, stepping up patrols and working with other organisations to visit scrap metal dealers to check if they have been approached by anyone suspicious. They have also been stopping vehicles carrying scrap metal to check they are legitimate traders.

In response to Mr Whittaker’s question, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Office James Brokenshire, agreed that the current laws regulating the scrap metal industry need to be revised and said discussions were underway.

He said: “The Government do not legislate lightly and have undertaken a range of work to tackle metal theft through non-legislative means. However, we have now reached the stage where the only conclusion is that new legislation is needed to tackle metal theft. We are therefore in discussion with other departments to agree on the most appropriate option for bringing these changes forward.” Mr Whittaker’s question was among nine about metal theft asked during the debate on Monday - a record number of Home Office questions on a single issue.