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Peter Luff has welcomed the progress of a bill to regulate the scrap metal industry and crack down on scrap metal theft.

The MP for Mid Worcestershire, who is also a defence minister, has spoken of the anger of his constituents over the desecration of war memorials by what he called “callous and shameful thieves who may know the price of metal but have no idea of the value of human life.”

Peter added,

“In the past six years metal theft cost churches over £12.5 million, with the number of crimes rising by 1/3 from 2010 to 2011. Staggeringly, one third of churches have been victims on these crimes. It is not ‘just’ war memorials and churches that have been affected by this increase in crime - delays have been experienced on trains when metal has been stolen from signalling cables, lives have been put at risk by manhole thefts and appalling damage has been done to residential properties.”

On Friday 13th July, MP Richard Ottaway introduced the ‘Scrap Metal Dealers Bill’ in the House of Commons. This Private Members Bill introduces better regulation of the scrap metal industry and a crack down on scrap metal theft. It proposes a robust new licensing regime with greater powers of enforcement to tackle unscrupulous scrap metal dealers who help perpetuate these crimes.

The Government has already begun legislating on this scandal. In the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, cash payments to purchase scrap metal were prohibited and the fines increased for all offences under the existing Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. The police now also have the power to enter unregistered premises.

Richard Ottaways’s bill won its second reading on Friday and it will now move on to committee stage and then receive a third reading. Although Private Member’s Bills do not often receive enough time to complete their journey into legislation, Mr Ottaway’s bill enjoys Government and cross-party support and is therefore very likely to succeed.

Peter expects that this bill will go the distance and make a real difference in the county.

Commenting, Peter said,

“I appreciate what a problem theft of metal has been across the country in recent years, particularly in Worcestershire. It is appalling that the church has incurred such huge costs because of metal theft.

“I strongly support the bill and hope that it makes its way through Parliament to become legislation. It’s time to end the scandal of metal theft that endangers lives, that dishonours the sacrifice of our armed services, that causes huge delay to the travelling public and imposes huge cost on communities.”


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