Further changes suggested for existing legislation would also mean anyone convicted of transporting stolen metal could be forced out of business by having their carrier registration taken off them.

The announcement follows a government commitment of £5m to establish a dedicated metal theft taskforce to enhance law enforcement activity in this area, and the Home Secretary’s commitment to ban cash payments for scrap metal, as part of the cross-Whitehall drive to tackle metal theft.

In announcing the changes, Environment Minister Lord Taylor said: “Stolen metal will be too hot to handle. Mindless criminals who steal from our railways and historic buildings, and the scrap dealers who fuel the market, are causing misery and anger for countless people.

“We’ll purge the industry of rotten elements by flushing them out of legitimate businesses, or shutting dodgy businesses down altogether.”

By toughening up the range of convictions taken into consideration when deciding who is suitable to operate a business that either transports or handles waste, the Environment Agency will be able crack down on anyone convicted of involvement in stealing metal.

Maxine Perella

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