With around 67000 reported crimes involving the theft of metal last year, the UK's government has acted quickly to pass the Scrap Metal Dealers bill to make it tougher on criminals to sell metal on through scrap dealers in the country.
The bill introduces new licensing requirements for scrap metal dealers to make rogue traders more identifiable and re-inforces the illegality of paying cash for scrap by extending the payment requirements to include the retention of verifiable records of any financial transactions which confirm the identity of the person selling scrap.
Scrap metal theft in the UK is a large and growing problem which affects infrastructure and cultural objects. Thefts from railway premises are particularly damaging and costs the economy far more than simply the value of the metal that's stolen.
So how effective will the new bill be in combating the theft of metal?
Once it is passed through the final stage of making it law, the bill will help tighten down on rogue scrap metal dealers and will make it harder for thieves to gain cash for the metal they steal by removing one route to easy cash. However, the law doesn't address the route to lucrative foreign markets by organised criminals.
Opportunistic thieves with few resources for moving metal out of the country will certainly find it harder to sell metal but organised criminal groups will be largely unaffected since the source of their income is not through the scrap metal dealer network.