Could your Scrap Cost you More than you Think?
Have you ever been in a scenario where someone has specified a ‘no questions asked’ policy when dealing with scrap metal? Maybe there was something you couldn’t define that didn’t feel right with the person you were dealing with? I am afraid to say, if this sounds like a familiar set of circumstances, that you are not alone. The theft of scrap metal and the running of illegal scrap yards have seen a year on year rise in recent history with the transport department now labelling it as the second biggest threat to its infrastructure after terrorism.
‘What could have possibly caused such a sudden rise in crime?’ is a question gaining serious momentum. The simple answer is scrap yards working without owning the proper licence which combines with a cash-in-hand mentality to eliminate any possibility of a paper trail
What is Being Done to Bring a Stop to This?
Technically?…Lots! Practically?…That’s a different story.
The Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, recently gave an emotional speech on the steps of Saint Mary’s RC cathedral which itself has been victim to robberies no less than nine times in the past three years. He promised to bring new measures into place and to shake up the scrap market industry.
However, those with longer memories may recall a similar promise being made some time ago. The Scottish Government has already taken a stance on this matter back in January 2012. At that time it made clear its desire to ban all cash payments for scrap and enforce all dealers carry the correct licence.
Should these measures ever come into place there will be two main points that analysts will be watching closely;
Will those measures alone be enough to deter criminals from the metal market and reduce crime statistics or will this be a simple case of ‘too little too late?’
And will this mean a more organised, less corrupt future for the scrap industry or is this the first in a long procession of governmental restrictions bring honest, hardworking people ever closer to administration.
Although analysts don’t have to wait as there is plenty of data to examine already. Not from Scotland but, instead, from France. In the summer of 2011 the French Government followed through with what the Scottish ministers are still considering and the findings are not ideal. It appears that the theft of scrap has been unaffected, instead it simply changed buyer, now crossing the border to bypass the law.
So what Does the Future Hold?
Maybe the solution, ministers are desperate to find, could be found not overseas but closer to home. Cumbria may already have the answer. Early in 2012 Cumbria Police took a more practical approach to tackling crime by working with legitimate scrap dealers to target and arrest those who would break the law. Initial findings appear promising and a message has clearly been sent out to those in the Cumbria area what the consequences will be of their actions.
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