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Hampshire police are warning metal thieves and scrap dealers that a new law comes into force today (03/12/12) - making it harder for anyone to sell stolen metal.
From now on all scrap dealers have to run a cashless system so that those selling scrap metal can not be paid in cash and must provide ID.
It comes as police continue their crackdown on the stolen metal trade across the county. On Monday, November 26 four more people were arrested and a quantity of suspected stolen metal recovered along with a stolen car from a yard in Nursling and a private address in Southampton and another in Eastleigh.
Three men aged, 29, 30 and 36 were arrested on suspicion of theft of metal and a woman, aged 29, arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. All four have been released on bail until February 4 while enquiries continue.
Force lead for Operation Tornado Jackie Wilson said: "Operation Tornado began on June 23 in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Since then scrap yards paying anyone in cash for scrap metal have had to take ID. Hampshire Constabulary have been
working closely with the environment agency to ensure compliance with the scrap metal act 1964 as well as Compliance with Operation Tornado.
"The majority of scrap yards voluntarily signed up to Operation Tornado and these measures have helped to achieve 30% reduction in metal theft reduction in metal since June. Now the law has officially changed and scrap yards have no choice
but to use a cashless system to pay those that sell scrap metal to them so that it can be traced back easily.
"Anyone who continues to deal in stolen metal will be subject to intensive police activity and can expect to get prosecuted.
"There are many examples of how metal theft has a direct effect on people's lives. There have been many schools, homes and business affected by such things as copper piping or lead flashing being stolen, often causing thousands of pounds of water damage. The theft of catalytic converters off cars has also been a problem for motorists and those using the trains have sometimes been affected by railway cables being stolen.''