I have campaigned recently on Metal Theft. In early summer I met with the Energy Networks Association to gauge the scale of the problem. In September I had a debate in the Commons on the issue. House of Commons Hansard Debates for 06 Sep 2011 (pt 0005) (Scroll to near bottom).
You can support my Private Members Bill to prevent Metal Theft on the 15th November by signing the epetition. http://t.co/JzXAU4e5
The issue has risen rapidly up the political agenda as thefts of our national infrastucture and descretion of graves and memorials has caused deep consternation.
My Bill proposes proposes 6 changes;
1. Amend the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. Instead of the current registration scheme, the UK needs a robust licensing regime, with scrap metal dealers paying a licence fee to fund the regulation of the licence.
2. Property obtained through theft should be regarded as criminal assets; that would allow the provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to apply.
3. In line with alcohol licensing powers, police authorities should have the power to search and investigate all premises owned and operated by a scrap metal dealer, and to close scrap metal dealers where criminally obtained materials are discovered.
4. Trade in scrap metals should be restricted to cashless payments, and there should be a requirement that scrap metal must not be sold or processed until payments have been cleared. Photo identification and CCTV should be mandatory to identify sellers of scrap and their vehicles.
5. Magistrates should have powers to add licence restrictions and prevent closed yards from re-opening, and
6. The Theft Act and related Acts should be amended so that suspects caught should be charged and if found guilty, sentenced in such a way that is proportionate to the consequences of the crime, not the scrap metal value.