The Law

Introduction to the Law

Metal theft causes misery and great financial losses for a great many people across the UK. Whether targeting the rail infrastructure, power cables, telecommunications, and even domestic properties. The recent legal changes signal the introduction of a more robust licensing scheme to be monitored by local authorities.

Metal theft costs the UK economy around £220 million a year this isn’t just from the having to replace the metals that are stolen but also repairing the damage caused to buildings and property when these metals are ripped out.

To help reduce the crime associated with scrap metal there was a big shakeup in the laws governing the scrap metal industry. The section below goes into detail regarding what both the sellers and the buyers have to do to stay on the right side of the law. For more information on the scrap metal law, shake-up visits the government's website HERE.

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At we want to make sure you get the best service and best scrap metal prices on the market. That is why we want to encourage you to understand the law surrounding the scrap metal industry so that you know you are dealing with a professional scrap metal dealer.

The laws surrounding the scrap metal industry have been implemented to help ensure that illegal metal theft is prevented. They also help to protect the legitimate, law abiding traders and assists the authorities in clamping down on the more unscrupulous traders who tarnish the industry.

The Changes

The following guidelines are designed to help you fully understand the laws and so you know the minimum service to expect from the trader buying your scrap metal.

  • All scrap metal dealers are required to be registered under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. Those who were previously registered under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 or the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 will need to reapply under the new legislation. This licence should be clearly visible at the scrap yard. If it is not, ask to see it. This way you will be 100% sure that you are dealing with a legal trader.
  • Before taking your metal to any scrap metal dealer ensure you have your identification with you. This identification will ideally need to be either a passport or a picture card drivers licence. It’s worth checking with the scrap dealer of your choice what you need to take with you before you go.
  • Cash payments are now prohibited for all scrap metal sales. Gone are the days when you could turn up with your scrap metal and receive an instant cash payment. All payments must now be given via BACS, cheque with some dealers offering payment via prepaid cash cards. These allow you to take cash out instantly. The cashless payment initiative was implemented to help create a paper trail of all payments. Now police can investigate metal theft and other suspicious activity more easily.
  • In the new legislation local authorities have been given permission to fine or close down any scrap dealers who do not work within the law. Should you witness any dealers breaking the law you should report them to the local authority. By doing this you will help to ensure that the law-abiding traders are protected and the traders who do not abide by the law are penalised.