U.K. lawmaker Richard Ottaway said he’ll introduce a bill to reform the scrap-metal industry in a bid to counter increasing theft.
Metal pilfering disrupted 36,000 train services last year, school and church roofs have been stripped and phone cable damaged, Ottaway, a member of the Conservative Party, said in an e-mailed statement today. His bill would increase legal deterrents to dealing in stolen metal and make it harder to buy.
“We need new legislation to disrupt and then shut down the trade in stolen metal, taking action against those stealing it and selling it on,” he said. “It is time to look at the sentencing guidelines, to see if they need strengthening to ensure the full impact of metal-theft crime is taken into account.”
Theft of metals including copper and lead costs the U.K. economy an estimated 770 million pounds ($1.2 billion) annually after doubling in five years, the Association of British Insurers said May 21. Elevated prices and ease of access to metals are driving thefts, according to the group.
Ottaway will introduce the private members’ bill to reform the Scrap Metal Dealer’s Act 1964.
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