With the recent introduction of new laws on scrap metal licensing, West Midlands Police, alongside Warwickshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire forces, are clamping down on dealers across the West Midlands with Operation Steel.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 came into force in October and states that all scrap metal traders and collectors need to apply for licences from the local authority in the areas in which they operate.

It is now illegal for any scrap metal dealer to collect, buy or sell scrap metal without a licence from the local council. A copy of the licence must be on display in their vehicle.

Now traders have had two months to acquire a licence, forces across the West Midlands will be actively seeking out those without one.

Inspector Jamie Checkland, regional co-ordinator of the metal theft taskforce, said: “These laws should see the rogue collectors eradicated from our streets.

“No one can simply hand over their items for scrap without also giving the collector their details. The laws mean that we should be able to trace the origin of everything that is taken as scrap meaning that thefts and illicit dealing should be a thing of the past.”

Insp Checkland added: “Traders have had two months to ensure they are complying with the new legislation to properly apply and receive their appropriate documentation but now we will begin the next phase, where we are actively checking on those suspected of failing to comply with the law.

“The many legitimate, law abiding scrap metal dealers who operate within the West Midlands will no doubt have already received their licences and are trading well within the laws of the land, but it is that minority who flout the legislation that we will be taking out of operation.”

Metal theft continues to reduce across the region, with offences so far this year reduced by more than 21 per cent − meaning there are hundreds of fewer victims of such crimes in 2013 compared with the previous year.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones added: “I welcome this concerted action by West Midlands Police and partners.

“The West Midlands has suffered more than other parts of the country, with high levels of metal theft, including theft from the rail transport infrastructure such as power cables and signalling equipment and the consequent detrimental effect on our rail services. By working with partner agencies across the public and private sectors, we can use new powers and regulations to clamp down on metal theft.”

If you have any information or concerns regarding metal theft, please call West Midlands Police (or West Mercia) on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111


  1. As I’m a scrap dealer I’ll give my honest comment,I think this is disgusting I really do you have taken our trade and destroyed it, your using metal theft as a cover up for your real plans an all it’s for is the tax man an so the council an continue rapping the money from community’s . In all the years of dealing with scrap I personally have never stole anything an with all my overheads can’t afford a license an many more like myself so the rise of dole dossers will soon increase an people who can’t earn will resolve to other crimes so well done on thinking that one through.an as for theft take a look at the foreigners that are stealing everything an giving us a bad name. And as for takin our trucks an chargin us stupid ammounts of money for scrap insurance an waste carriers an now this that’s legalised theft.

  2. Sadly Nathan its instances such as people having mobility equipment taken from outside there house that has driven counsels to bring measures like this in here is two instances I can give you



    first hand I can tell you we have had people try take our washing machine as we were swapping them over (it was shrink wrapped with polystyrine on! We were only in the house a minuet and the door was open) and as a wheelchair user I’m petrified of leaving my chair outside for more than 2 mins

    You may be in the group of good scrap collectors but there are dodgey ones and they do operate around here too

  3. We are now almost 3 years on from the inception of these laws, and still we have collectors helping themselves to items from peoples front gardens without first asking the householders permission, making the assumption that anything is “scrap” simply by its positioning on the property. When challenged they can get very bolshy indeed!

    I have had a central heating radiator taken from my drive – the taker had to remove the hosepipe that was being used to flush it clean. More recently I have had to intercept a scrap collector who was very interested in my car wheels, while I was swopping them round and cleaning them up!

    As for leaving my bike propped up while I pop in to collect something – well that’s asking for it.

    We shouldn’t need to keep a constant watch on our belongings, now should we?


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