New fees for scrap dealers to clamp down on metal thefts in Hartlepool

Scrap metal
Scrap metal

SCRAP dealer merchants are now subject to new licence fees as part of a nationwide crackdown on trading stolen metal.

All scrap dealers in England and Wales must now apply for a licence from the local authority and to keep records on who they buy from.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 – set to be discussed by councillors in Hartlepool next week – is aimed at cracking down on the trading of scrap metal-related thefts, and the act also extends a ban on cash payments to mobile collectors.

Two licenses have been introduced, site licences allow a dealer to operate from the sites named on the licence while collectors licences only have to name the dealer and the local authority area that they are licensed to operate within.

In Hartlepool, the fees have been set at: site fee (three years) £350 and collectors fee (three years) £120.

Councils will assess whether each applicant is a “suitable person” and will have more powers to carry out inspections, and the relevant information includes whether the applicant or site manager has any previous convictions or enforcement action.

Dealers will be required, under the new rules, to record the value of the metal purchased as well as proof of the seller’s identity and address, and to keep the records for a period of three years.

A report by Louise Wallace, the council’s director of public health, said: “At present, scrap metal dealers, and similar trades such as motor salvage operators, must register with the local authority but registration is an administrative process that simply allows for a record to be maintained of businesses operating in that sector.

“The Scrap Metal Dealers Act will deliver much needed reform.”

Licences will last for three years unless revoked under the act, which came in this month.

The council’s licensing committee is due to meet to discuss the new legislation on Thursday, Wednesday, October 16, at the Civic Centre at 10am.