HISTORIC Newstead Abbey is just one of countless buildings to have fallen victim to metal thieves in recent years.
But now, thanks to new legislation, it is hoped the crimewave, which has blighted everything from landmark properties to roadside grates, will decline.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) amends the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 (SMDA). Its aim is to better regulate the sale of scrap metal by introducing new offences and powers for police forces in England and Wales.
Its implementation in the Dispatch district and the rest of Nottinghamshire prevents anyone from making or receiving cash payments for scrap metal, demands sellers produce identification, allows police access to unregistered scrap-metal sites and raises fine levels.
Nottinghamshire police’s specially forged metal-theft reduction team, dubbed Metallica, has welcomed the new law.
“It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have an updated scrap law to support modern-day enforcement,” said Metallica’s Det Sgt Rob Lloyd.
“This should go a long way to preventing the movement of stolen goods and, in the longer run, put a bigger dent in metal theft.
“We have been liaising with SMDs since April with Operation Tornado, so the majority of dealers should be ready for it.
“We will now be ensuring site staff not only comply with the new cashless legislation today, but tomorrow and always, and we will not be shy about making arrests and seizures of suspected stolen metal.”
Since April, metal theft in Nottinghamshire has reduced by 48%, compared to the same period last year. The city has seen a drop of 74% and the county is experiencing a 39 per cent decrease.
But the Notts team are ever watchful and will be continuing to tackle the problem.
Chief Insp Sean Anderson, force and region lead for metal theft reduction, added: “Now that we have these new laws to give us further powers to control the stolen goods market, we intend to use them to ensure we are seeing less and less victims of this type of crime in the East Midlands.”
If you suspect someone is trading scrap for cash, handling stolen goods, or operating an unregistered scrap business, call Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.