MP joins fight to ‘scrap’ metal thefts

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BULWELL’S MP has joined the fight for new laws to tackle the increasing problem of metal thefts.

Graham Allen, who represents the Nottingham North constituency that covers Bulwell, is backing the Private Member’s Bill proposed by former Tory rival Richard Ottaway to replace the current Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. It was discussed at Parliamentary committee level on Tuesday.

“I’m absolutely delighted that the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill has emerged from its committee stage in record time,” said Mr Allen. “It will now go to the next stage, which is reporting back to the floor of the House of Commons.

“Scrap-metal thieves have been allowed to get away with their crimes for too long,” added Mr Allen, who is hoping new legislation will deter criminals. “This Bill will be a great start to reduce the extraordinary numbers of scrap-metal theft, and bring in long awaited, much-needed regulation to the scra- metal industry.”

Many buildings across the Dispatch district and the rest of the country have fallen victim to thieves who have stripped sites of their lead and other valuable metals before selling it on.

Countless churches, historical buildings, houses and statues have been affected by the crime, which costs millions of pounds each year.

Local beauty spot and tourist attraction Newstead Abbey fell foul to this crime when lead, to a value of tens of thousands of pounds, was taken. The culprit sold it off for just £87 but was traced and is currently serving an 18-month jail sentence.

“When so many families in Nottingham and around the country are suffering from the economic crisis, paying for the replacement of stolen scrap metal, although essential, is infuriating. This Bill should deter metal thieves, which will allow the government to refocus its priorities to the real issues that matter.”

A pilot scheme tested in Durham and Cleveland, produced a significant reduction of metal theft after people were required to provide photographic proof of identification before being able to sell the metal on to scrap dealers.

Mr Allen added: “It is clear that the government supports our proposals, but there are many difficulties ahead which could lead to the Bill being obstructed or even killed, therefore we have to be clever in how we manage its progress.

“Nonetheless, this is major step forward and I hope that my constituents who have suffered the impacts of scrap-metal theft will be delighted at this progress.”