Metal Theft
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Scrap the Cash!

Major Week of Action Planned To Coincide with Changes to Law
Crime-fighting agencies are heralding the introduction of new legislation aimed at tackling the blight of metal theft and its impact across Scotland – with a major week of enforcement activity as part of Operation Scandium.
Authorities including British Transport Police (BTP), Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), Police Scotland, Scottish Government, and Trading Standards will be involved in enforcing the changes to law, effective from 01 September, banning the use of cash when buying or selling scrap metals.
Despite a recent reduction in cases, the crime continues to harm Scottish businesses and communities, with 417 metal related crimes reported between April  to July 2016 resulting in close to a £600,000 estimated repair cost.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, said: “While most scrap dealers are law-abiding businesses, metal theft remains a severe problem in Scotland and so required us to put in place more effective regulation to make it harder for thieves to dispose of stolen metal.  That is why we legislated through the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, to tighten up controls on the metal dealer licensing regime.
“The changes now in force will raise standards within the industry – providing greater traceability and increasing penalties for offences, and representing a significant step up in the battle against metal theft.”
Metal Theft Lead for the SBRC, Jim Scott, welcomes the changes to law and believes it will drastically improve transparency within the wider scrap metal industry.

He said: “The reality of this criminal activity is that communities are acutely affected – whether through power outages from stolen copper at substations, disruption of rail journeys, or by costly damage to properties with lead stolen from roofing.

“By removing the incentive of cash trading, any scrap metal transactions will be fully traceable and we expect this to deter unscrupulous individuals from carrying out metal theft.
“This will be the culmination of over three years work with various partners including the main utility companies that were the victims of metal theft.
“The SBRC will continue to work with its partners to assist the industry through this substantial change and also to ensure that any dealers that revert to paying cash are identified and dealt with through the proper channels.”
An intensive week of activity is planned following an initial day of action coinciding with the change of law and authorities will then continue with a proactive approach enforcing the new law.
Included in the activity will be a road stop is at Lothian Buses’ Seafield Road Depot in Edinburgh and will be attended by a number of high-ranking figures from across the involved organisations – as well as Crimestopper’s Mobile ‘Scrap the Cash’ billboard.
Prior to the change in law, the multi-agency backed Operation Scandium, was carried out to raise awareness of new legislation.
As part of a continuation of Operation Scandium, a year-long Crimestopper’s Scrap the Cash campaign will see over 150 billboard adverts appearing close to scrapyard dealerships in Scotland, together with targeted leaflets and a social media campaign.
Chief Superintendent John McBride of British Transport Police said: “Despite a decrease in reported offences, metal theft still incurs a significant cost to the Scottish economy and continues to disrupt and inconvenience our communities.
“By removing cash transactions from the metal industry and having more robust identification processes in place, this new legislation will make it more difficult for those involved in such criminality to dispose of stolen goods.
“By working in partnership with various agencies we will continue to target those involved in metal theft and will also work closely with the Scrap Metal Industry to ensure that any rogue dealers are identified and dealt with under the new legislation.”
Superintendent Gregg Banks of Police Scotland's Specialist Crime Division, said: "Metal theft has a negative impact on local communities across Scotland.  The introduction of new measures which come into effect on Thursday 1st September 2016 will help to tackle issues such as the use of cash to buy or sell scrap metal and the accuracy of sales records. These measures will go a long way to support our work with partners and communities to prevent such thefts; to disrupt the market in stolen metal, and reduce the harmful effects on communities and business as a result of metal theft."
Robert Fell, Chief Executive, British Metals Recycling Association, said: “As the trade body for many scrap metal yards in Scotland, we welcome the cash ban and the enhanced identification requirements.
“We stand ready to support our colleagues in local authorities, BTP and Police Scotland as they enforce the Act from 01 September onwards. However, we would stress that to be truly effective, on-going enforcement will be crucial and we therefore seek assurance that the Act will continue to be a priority once the initial funding for Operation Scandium ends next year.”

 You can find out everything you need to know about the new legislation by reading this guidance from the Scottish Government. 



Scottish scrapyard dealers told to `Scrap the Cash’
ahead of major metals law shakeup

Independent charity Crimestoppers Scotland is encouraging scrapyard dealers to report anonymously other dealers who are illegally trading in cash.
Crimestoppers’ Scrap the Cash campaign, in conjunction with the Scottish Government-backed Operation Scandium, aims to raise awareness of new legislation banning the use of cash when buying or selling scrap metals. New licensing regime for dealers is also designed to tackle the blight of metal thefts from buildings, bridges and railways.
The year-long campaign will see over 150 billboard adverts appearing close to scrapyard dealerships in Scotland, together with targeted leaflets and a social media campaign.
Chief Inspector Stuart Wilson of British Transport Police said: “Despite a decrease in reported offences, metal theft still incurs considerable cost to the Scottish economy and continues to disrupt and inconvenience the communities we serve.
“The main focus will be on cashless transactions and we hope Crimestoppers campaign will give dealers a trusted avenue to report anonymously any rogue dealers who continue to do business in cash and in turn take revenue away from the legitimate businesses.
Angela Parker, National Manager of Crimestoppers Scotland, added: ‘Crimestoppers’ 100% guarantee of anonymity removes any fear scrapyard dealers have in reporting those still trading in cash, ultimately protecting the industry.
“We are an independent charity and cannot trace or record telephone calls or track people who use our Anonymous Online Form, so you can contact us safe in the knowledge that no-one will ever know you called.’
Jim Scott, from the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, said:  ‘This sort of crime is still a problem across Scotland with June seeing over 135 incidents of metal theft reported in just one month.
“This has a substantial cost to the Scottish economy and also has a major impact on local businesses. In a three-month period, the cost to the economy within Scotland was just under £400,000.”

For more information please contact the Crimestoppers press office on 020 8835 3700 or email



Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 – Guidance on the provisions for Metal Dealers and Itinerant Metal Dealers
The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 4 August 2015.  The majority of the provisions relating to metal dealers and itinerant metal dealers come into force on 1 September 2016.
The Scottish Government has now published a guidance document on the provisions to assist metal dealers, itinerant metal dealers, licensing authorities and other enforcement agencies.
The guidance can be viewed at:

New Scrap Metal Dealer Regulations

On Friday 26th of June  the Scottish parliament voted to introduce new Scrap Metal Dealer regulations that will prohibit the use of cash to buy/sell scrap metal and tighten and improve record keeping within Scrap Metal Dealers. The effects of this change will be to disrupt the market in stolen metal created by unscrupulous scrap metal merchants. The new regulations which form part of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill provide similar powers found in the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 for law enforcement and create a level playing field for scrap metal businesses across Britain.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, said:
“The completion of the parliamentary passage of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill is an important milestone in the battle to tackle metal theft.  
We are proud to have delivered on our promise to bring in tougher rules for licensing metal dealers.
Measures such as a ban on cash payments and better record-keeping requirements are important steps toward making it harder for thieves to convert stolen metal into cash.”

SBRC Metal Theft Summit 2016

On Tuesday 23rd February the Scottish Business Resilience Centre hosted our annual Metal Theft Summit at the Scottish Fire and Rescue National Training Centre is Glasgow. We would like to take this opportunity to thank SP Energy Networks for kindly supporting this event. 

The focus of the summit this year was to educate delegates on the impending change to metal theft legislation which comes into force this summer and the work of Operation Scandium.
This Summit highlighted the excellent work which has been carried out through Operation Scandium and the increased numbers of days of action which was talked through by Chief Superintendent John McBride. Robin Edwards form Onis Consulting was at the conference to provide an analysis of how the changes in legislation have impacted on other parts of the UK and what lessons Scotland can learn from these. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the other presenters who made the day such a success
Our keynote address was delivered by Douglas Barnett from AXA Insurance who delivered an overview of the SBRC and the impact metal theft has on the local community and business.

We would also like to thank this year’s exhibitors Net-Defence, PID Systems, DCL Security and Selectamark Security Systems who were on hand to speak to delegates throughout the day. 
Following on from the Summit the SBRC will take the lead on a high profile media campaign. aimed at raising awareness in the changes to the legislation to scrap metal dealers. This campaign will be run in partnership with, BMRA, BT, PS and SEPA.

If you would like more information about the changes to metal theft legislation please contact

Metal Theft advice from Police Scotland


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