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Incidences of metal theft are thought to have grown in recent years with rising global metal prices. Metal theft is estimated to cost the UK economy some £220-260 million per year—although the total costs could be up to £800 million.

The Government has introduced a range of measures to tackle the problem. However, it believes that additional regulatory controls on scrap metal dealers are required to reduce the opportunities for metal thieves to sell stolen material.

These controls will be taken forward by the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill 2012, Richard Ottaway’s Private Member’s Bill. The Bill extends to England and Wales. The Bill had its First Reading on 20 June 2012 and Second Reading is due on 13 July 2012.

Richard Ottaway said that the Bill will “empower local authorities with a more robust and enforceable licence regime for all those who deal and collect scrap metal”.

Please consult Library Standard Note SN06150 for information on the full range of Government action on metal theft.


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