Scrap dealer’s fears over metal theft crackdown plan

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THE BOSS of a Staveley scrap firm fears Government plans to swap dealers’ cash payments for metals to cheque-only transactions could put him and others out of business.

Home Secretary Theresa May has proposed the law be introduced in April to deter rising metal and lead thefts from railway lines and church roofs and their unaccountable sales.

But Geoff Deaton, of Deatons Metal Centre, at Netherthorpe, believes this will create a bigger black market where unscrupulous people will continue to pay cash for scrap and sell it on while honest traders lose even more business and are left struggling.

Mr Deaton said: “The Government says if you ban cash payments no one will steal metal to sell, but unscrupulous people will still buy scrap and illegal scrap for cash and they will find the means to get rid of it.

“I think anyone wanting to sell scrap should be vetted and given a police-approved, scrap metal traders’ licence and without one they shouldn’t be let into a scrap yard.

“There is a cancer with metal thefts and I feel so let down that there hasn’t been a consultation over plans to fight it I feel like packing up.”

Mr Deaton, who has been in the trade for 46 years, said his transactions are all recorded and he often turns untrustworthy scrap sellers away.

But he fears cheque only arrangements will also prevent smaller cash figure transactions, create more paperwork and deter honest customers looking for small deals.

Theresa May, who also wants fines for scrap offences to be increased, said: “Tackling the stolen metal market will act as a significant deterrent.”