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Julian Huppert MP
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Government plans new law to tackle scrap metal theft MP told

February 3, 2012 11:51 AM

Julian at WestminsterMP Julian Huppert has received a commitment from the government that it plans new legislation to tackle metal theft across Cambridgeshire and nationally.

A new criminal offence will be created to stop dealers buying scrap metal with cash and fines for all scrap metal offences will be significantly increased.

Julian was also told that the government planned to fund a new dedicated metal theft taskforce to address the issue.

Home Office Minister, James Brokenshire told yesterday (February 2) that the government considers legislation as "the only sustainable, long-term solution".

His comments came after Julian raised a written question with Home Secretary, Theresa May asking when she plans to introduce a comprehensive set of measures to tackle metal theft and whether she has any plans to bring forward legislation.

He also wanted to know whether she had discussed a timetable for introducing the measures.

Mr Brokenshire said: "Metal theft is a serious and growing national problem with wide ranging social and financial impacts.

"The government considers that legislation is the only sustainable, long-term solution and will lay in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill an amendment to create a new criminal offence to prohibit cash payments to purchase scrap metal; and significantly increase the fines for all offences under the existing Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 that regulates the scrap metal recycling industry.

"These amendments are part of our wider attempts to tackle all stages in the illegal trading of stolen scrap metal, and we shall bring forward further measures in due course," he said.

Across Cambridgeshire, church and school roofs have been stripped and metal stolen totaling millions of pounds in the last few years.

Cambridgeshire Police launched Operation Gandalf to tackle the problem and have visited scrap metal sites across the county.

Later Julian said: "Scrap metal theft is a growing problem and I am pleased that the government is taking this action.

"These thefts are hitting schools, churches and businesses heavily and it is only by making it difficult for scrap metal to be sold on that we will be able to effectively tackle this problem.

"I am hoping that by combining this with a significant increase in the fines for all offences related to this crime, we can make it increasingly difficult for thieves to operate and we will be able to stamp out scrap metal theft."