AN “EPIDEMIC” of metal theft needs urgent action from the Home Office, before it gets out of control, claims MP Michael Dugher.
The Barnsley East MP is backing a four-point plan to tackle the issue, supported by the British Transport Police, the Association of Chief Police Officers and Neighbourhood Watch.
The plan includes: licensing scrap metal dealers, rather than current registration with local authority, a move to ban cash transactions especially for large scale, high value scrap metal transactions, tougher police powers to close rogue traders down, and for anyone selling scrap to provide proof of identity, recorded at point of sale.
Mr Dugher said: “This Government needs to go further if it is to effectively tackle the growing crime of metal theft in South Yorkshire.
“Households face power cuts, commuters face increasing delays and public buildings are being damaged. Banning cash transactions in itself will not solve the problem, and while legitimate scrap yards will go cashless, some yards may continue to take cash and continue a black market”.
He continued: “Tougher powers for the police to close down rogue traders is what is required”.
Train services have ben disrupted twice recently after cable was stolen from the network at Rotherham. Cable theft is the number one crime issue for the railways, accounting for 39.7 per cent of all railway property theft. There were 2,712 cable thefts in 2010/11 compared to 1,593 in 2009/10.