Crackdown on metal thieves yields results

Redditch Advertiser: TEAM: From left, Andy Greenhouse, of Vosa; Jamie Colley, of Worcestershire Regulatory Services; Dave Roberts, Wychavon District Council environmental crime officer; Priya Bloor, of HM Revenue and Customs; and Sgt Helen Wain, of West Mercia Police. TEAM: From left, Andy Greenhouse, of Vosa; Jamie Colley, of Worcestershire Regulatory Services; Dave Roberts, Wychavon District Council environmental crime officer; Priya Bloor, of HM Revenue and Customs; and Sgt Helen Wain, of West Mercia Police.

A TWO-day operation targeting metal thieves across Worcestershire saw 13 vehicles seized and people arrested for a variety of offences.

The operation was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday near the M5 in Worcester, on the A449 in Kidderminster and on the A5 at Nesscliff, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire by West Mercia Police and other organisations.

Off junction 6 of the M5, a total of 45 vehicles were stopped. As your Worcester News reported on Thursday, two vehicles were seized for document offences, and one for having an overweight load.

A further vehicle was taken off the road for having no MOT.

Six Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Vosa) prohibition notices were issued along with a further two Vosa advice notices, and the DVLA was notified of three vehicles for having no tax.

One on-the-spot fine of £528 was handed out for red diesel, one person was arrested for possession of cannabis, and another was dealt with for making off without payment earlier in the day on a neighbouring force area.

On the A449 Worcester Road in Kidderminster, 15 vehicles were stopped and four were seized.

Two people were arrested – one for theft and one for driving with excess alcohol – and three people were dealt with for using their mobile phones while driving, three for no insurance or document offences, and one for having no tax.

A number of scrapyard sites were also visited by police across South Worcestershire with colleagues from Worcestershire Regulatory Services and in Kidderminster and Stourport-on-Severn with colleagues from the Wyre Forest District Council.

The operation was part of the new enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 which came into effect on October 1.

The Act has introduced a more rigorous licensing regime for scrap metal collectors, scrap metal sites and motor salvage operators, requiring them to apply for criminal records checks, and for a site or collectors licence.

Mobile collectors now have to be licensed in each of the local authorities covering the area where they collect. It also extends an existing ban on cash payments for scrap metal and requires anyone buying scrap metal to verify the identity of the seller.

Inspector Sarah Chaloner said the new record-keeping requirements were very strict, but the aim was to protect the public.

She said: “While responsible scrap metal collectors provide a legitimate service in taking away unwanted items, there are still too many unscrupulous collectors on our roads, effectively committing theft by removing items which are definitely not scrap. Furthermore they are putting other road users in danger by overloading and driving badly maintained vehicles.

“More operations are planned and it is our intention that mobile collectors are left in no doubt they must either comply with the law or cease collecting.”

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