Pledge to help curb metal theft

SCRAP yard bosses were invited to sign a pledge to promise they will not buy any illegitimate scrap metal.

Officers from the Durham and Northumbria police forces visited yards in Wingate and Blackhall as part of an operation targeting scrap metal theft.

Operation Falconwood was launched earlier this year and links in with Northumbria Police’s similar initiative called Attest.

Police and officials from Durham County Council and City of Sunderland Council visited scrap yards in both force areas, including in Wingate and Blackhall, to ensure the appropriate regulations were being observed.

The owners of the yards visited were invited to sign up to a good practice scheme which confirms they will not buy metal or cable without proof of ownership, and will always ask for official identification of the person bringing the items in.

Officials from HM Revenue and Customs also found two vehicles with “red diesel” in their tanks.

The fuel is taxed at a lower rate and is not meant to be available for general use.

Staff from Vehicle Operators Standards Agency (VOSA) and the security marking company Smart Water were also part of the police-led operation.

PC Andy Sutherland, of Durham Constabulary, said: “Along with Northumbria we will continue to target those who are involved in either stealing or dealing in scrap metal which has been illegally obtained.