Police check 25 vans in Black Country scrap metal crackdown

A police crackdown on works vans weighed down with metal took place in the Black Country.

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Police officers during the crackdown

A total of 25 vans were stopped by officers to make sure they were operating within the law, with police also visiting 20 scrapyards across Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley.

The vans were stopped just off Bilston Road in Wolverhampton. Five drivers were issued with orders to undertake urgent repairs, one was given a fine and six were handed warning notices. Two vans were seized for no insurance. In addition to the stop checks, officers also visited 20 scrap metal yards as part of the ongoing battle against metal theft.

None were found to have been breaking new laws which prevent yards from trading scrap for cash and also requiring sellers to produce photo ID.

Sergeant Rebecca Barnsley, from Bilston police station, organised the operat- ion. It took place on Wednesday.

She said: “We are determined to make it as difficult as possible for rogue traders or thieves to get rid of stolen metals in the Midlands region and we will prosecute anyone found to be committing offences.

“For too long thieves have been able to steal what they like and sell it on for, sometimes, large amounts of cash.

“We regularly monitor yards across the West Midlands and ensure anyone trying to sell or accept stolen goods are subject to our investigations.

Police were joined by a number of other agencies during the day of action including BT, Virgin Media, Smartwater and British Transport Police.

Calor Gas staff also attended and gave four scrap dealers advice on accepting their empty bottles.

A regional metal theft taskforce was launched in summer 2012 to tackle the crime. Along with West Midlands Police’s Operation Steel and the national Operation Tornado, it has seen the number of metal thefts cut by more than half in 2012.

Metal theft has blighted the region in recent years with everything from homes, churches, schools, hospitals, transport links and war memorials targeted.

However new laws to tackle the thieves and rogue traders came into force in December.

All cash transactions at metal recycling yards were banned and fines for dealers who failed to comply were increased.

Scrap merchants are also now expected to sign up to a photo identity scheme.

Figures show that throughout the West Midlands, Staffordshire and West Mercia police force areas, metal worth more than £34 million has been stolen over the past four years.

Metal theft across the region is now at its lowest level in two years.

Latest figures showed reports peaking last May with around 850 metal thefts a month, but in December there were 100.

It still equates to more than three a day, but the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones paid tribute to officers’ efforts to drive down a problem that had become the scourge of victims.

Mr Jones said the public and private sector had teamed up to tackle metal thieves, and that collaboration was now paying dividends.

Network Rail figures showed crooks struck 98 times on train lines in the region between April 2010 and August last year.

Comments for: "Police check 25 vans in Black Country scrap metal crackdown"

Jumbo

Theirs only one place for these crooks!

Behind Iron bars.

snowy

Only one problem there's no bars in clink they weighed them in

Wally

Scrapyards can no longer pay out cash for goods received but most now operate a cheque cashing service to get around this problem and charge a fee for doing so! You have to admire the brass and ingenuity of these guys.

WULFGAR

I USED TO HAVE A TRUMPET UNTIL SOMEONE KNICKED IT

HAS ANYONE SEEN IT

Sharky.

They always find a way round anything the politicians and law makers come up with because they smarter and always will be.

BillyJo

As an ex scrap metal dealer who was forced to give up the trade due to police harassment, I have a few points to make. To begin with I have never stolen anything in my life, I operated 100% lawfully and was well known by residents of my regular run.

Before I started working in the scrap metal trade I never had any problems whatsoever with police. During my 8 years working as a honest scrap metal dealer, the harassment I received from police was truly shocking. I cannot tell you the number of times I was stopped for no other reason than trying to earn an honest living. Each time the police stopped me, they would begin by checking my paperwork was in order, full uk driving licence, valid tax and mot, commercial insurance and waste carriers licence. The paperwork checked out each and every time, they would then check my load, nothing stolen ever on my truck and it was pretty obvious I was operating legally with the scrap I had on the truck. After finding nothing wrong with the paperwork or my load, they would then go over the truck with a finecomb and believe me when they are so desperate to find something to fine you for, they will find something.

If someone is going out stealing metal the police have every right and should be targeting them, however in my experience the police target you if they don't like the look of you, they will find something to fine you over just to make a scapegoat out of you to make it look like they are doing something to tackle metal theft, when in reality they are targeting honest workers like me who have never, ever stolen anything.

In the end I could take no more of the continuous harassment, I had 8 years commercial no claims bonus on my truck, I ended up selling my truck and am now unemployed claiming jobseekers allowance trying to find another driving job.

If the police want to catch people stealing metal, it's pretty easy to do, they should leave high value metal placed in areas metal theft is an ongoing problem in the same was they use set-up houses with hidden cameras for burglars and bait cars for car thieves.

I have been unemployed now for almost 10 months after 8 years continuous self employment in the scrap metal trade, who knows how long it will take me to find employment that gave me the same fulfillment I got from working in scrap metal? Much of the time I worked 7 day weeks, some weeks just about breaking even after paying expenses.

Please note how no stolen metal was found by officers in the operation.

As for the 2 vans seized for no insurance, I can put money on it the vans were in fact insured but many of the workers are not aware there is a difference between private and commercial insurance which the police take advantage of to seize their vehicles. It would be nice if the police actually targeted the people who are actually stealing metal or anything else for that matter.