July 15, 2024

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British Metals Recycling Association: Home office must act on metal theft

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) have warned the Home Office is “completely disengaged” with the spiraling problem of metal theft.

The BMRA also said local authorities need to take the issue far more seriously.

Its comments come in the wake of a major new report which showed metal theft now costs the UK a staggering half a billion pounds a year.

Since 2013, the economy has been hit to the tune of £4.3bn, according to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Metal, Stone and Heritage Crime.

Calling for urgent action, James Kelly, the CEO of the BMRA, said: “The data shared in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Metal, Stone and Heritage Crime makes for sobering reading.

“It clearly shows the scourge of metal theft is an ongoing problem. Operators willing to look the other way and buy stolen metal are being emboldened by the lack of enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act thereby offering a disposal route for thieves.

“While groups such as the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership is doing great work to tackle metal theft, the Home Office and Local Authorities are seemingly completely disengaged with the issue.”

According to the APPG report up to 60 Organised Crime Groups are currently active in metal theft-and account for the majority of metal theft crime.

Their study found thefts of catalytic converters soared from 10,049 in 2013 to 27,195 last year – a rise of 170 percent. Thefts involving lead increased from 5,947 to 6,446 over the same period, a rise of eight percent.

In 2022 alone, one organisation suffered 334 incidents of cable theft – totalling losses of £5.3m.

Commuters suffered 72,000 minutes/50 days of delay in 2022 because railway signaling or overhead cables, containing high-value copper, had been stolen.

Yet there were just 229 prosecutions between 2018 and 2022 for scrap metal dealer offences.

Mr Kelly added: “We need the Home Office to recognise the seriousness of the issue and to act.”

MPs are also calling for a Home Office working group to be set up to tackle the crime wave. – an idea also backed by the BMRA.

For more information visit: https://www.recyclemetals.org/appgmshc.html