Council making it harder for illegal scrap metal firms
POLICE are hoping new legislation making it illegal to deal in scrap metal without a licence will help to reduce metal theft in the county.
From October, district councils will be responsible for giving authorisation to scrap dealers and collectors.
And Lincolnshire Police, which has been clamping down on metal thefts, is backing the scheme.
As part of licence applications, dealers must submit a form disclosing their criminal records.
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Anyone caught operating without the right paperwork after October 15 could face a fine of up to £5,000.
Inspector Marc Gee said: "Lincolnshire Police will be working in partnership with the local councils and the Environment Agency to take enforcement action against anyone operating illegally without a licence in all district council areas within Lincolnshire.
"Every collector will need to be licensed in each council area if they want to collect scrap metal and they will need to apply through the council licensing department who will also liaise with the police when considering applications.
"I believe this will have a significant effect on deterring scrap collectors travelling into Lincolnshire from other areas and possibly committing crime at the same time."
When the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 comes into force, people in East Lindsey will have to buy one of two licences from the district council.
A site licence will allow a dealer to operate on business premises and collect any scrap relevant to that operation.
Collectors' licences will allow people to collect scrap, but only within the authority area in which they were issued.
Applications must be submitted between October 1 and October 15.
East Lindsey District Council said it will issue "transitional licences", which will be valid until December 1, when full licences will have been distributed.
Councillor Craig Leyland, portfolio holder for economic development at the authority, said the new powers against "unscrupulous dealers" would give the public "peace of mind" when using scrap metal merchants and street collectors.
The new measures will not mean the end of the existing Waste Carrier's Licence, which will continue to be issued by the Environment Agency.
Skegness-based scrap dealer Sid Dennis said: "I think regulation is a marvellous thing for the scrap business.
"I don't think the Act will have an effect on metal thefts and make it any better than how it is at the moment, but I think it will root out illegal operators and that will be a good thing.
"We need total transparency and we have to look for that all the time.
"It's the way it needs to be done.
"We're in difficult economic times and we need to go forward and work together."
For more information or to register details with East Lindsey District Council, call Kristina West on 01507 613552 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.