A licensing administration officer will be taken on by Walsall Council to check on scrap metal dealers, part of a nationwide crackdown coming into force in October.
Under the new licensing laws, scrap metal merchants will be granted a licence which they can hold for three years if they can satisfy the authority that they are legitimate traders.
The new Government legislation aims to put a stop to the theft and illegal sale of scrap metal.
Currently, 72 dealers are registered with Walsall Council. Existing dealers will be able to apply for a site or collector’s licence between October 1 and 15, with a decision expected by December. In the meantime, they will be able to continue to trade under a temporary licence.
Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, cash transactions for scrap metal will also be banned.
A report which will go before the council’s community services and environment scrutiny and performance panel said there would be a lot of work for the licensing team to do as a result of the changes.
The report said: “Walsall Council already has 72 current dealers registered, but in the new regime, many of these will require multiple ‘suitable person’ checks to be carried out.
“In addition we believe that many dealers are brought within the provisions of the 2013 Act for the first time, including those who are currently registered in another local authority, but who will also need to register with Walsall Council to operate as collectors within the area.
“There is little capacity within the licensing administration team to deal with the new licence applications and carry out the relevant checks that need to be made. At the initial implementation we will employ a licensing administration officer on a temporary basis until we are better placed to establish any long-term needs.”
Scrap dealers who trade without a licence face the risk of being caught and fined.
Churches, schools, council buildings and war memorials in Walsall have all been targeted by metal thieves. Thousands of pounds of damage was caused when Barr Beacon War Memorial was attacked twice in 2011. Thief-proof metal and security cameras have now been installed in a bid to stop vandals targeting the landmark.