THE draft Metal Theft (Prevention) Bill before Parliament makes no distinction between those dealing in general scrap and the trade in scrap precious metal.
Sponsoring MP Graham Jones told ATG back in November that his
priority in putting the Bill forward was to prevent crime and
uphold the law, and that a decision on whether dealers buying scrap
gold, silver and platinum would be included had yet to be taken but
would be discussed.
It is not clear whether such discussions have taken place.
Although the focus has been very much on thefts of cable from
the railways and bronze plaques from war memorials, the wording in
the draft legislation refers only to scrap metal dealers, making no
distinction between breakers' yards and jewellery shops.
The central plank of the legislation, which is due for its
second reading in the House of Commons within the next couple of
months, is a ban on cash transactions involving scrap metal in the
hope that the resulting paper trail would act as a deterrent to
thieves. Dealers would have to keep full records of transactions
for four years under the proposals.
Those found to have breached the law would forfeit all their
holdings of scrap metal and be disqualified from dealing in it.
Punishments, depending on the type of offence, would encompass
fines and/or jail terms of up to five years.