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Any old Iron?

All heating installers get a little bit of a bonus from turning in the scrap metal from jobs where they replace a boiler or cylinder.

Some take it into account when they do the quote and some keep it as a way of covering the cost of removing the rubbish at the end of a job (as you can’t just put a bag of rubble and packaging into your domestic bin).

But however the scrap is collected there is always a metal dealer willing to pay for it.

There are now changes coming in which for installers will mean your scrap income will go down and you will have to carry identification to sell your scrap.

Why? you might ask. Read on..

The problem.

Unfortunately some dealers are a not as upstanding as they might be and often don’t ask where the scrap came from.

Some of our larger customers have had late night visitors emptying their rubbish skips of metal or having the scrap stolen from customer properties during the installations.

As a supplier we have suffered a large number of break-ins targeting our copper store (fittings and pipe) as the price of copper went through the roof a few years ago. Some of the fittings would have gone to installers of dubious qualifications and some to local scrap dealers who would have know exactly what was being passed on to them.

It is all fuelled by the ease with which the thief can sell on their scrap to the dodgy metal merchant.

The Solution.

But the days of “cash and carry” scrap metal dealers is finally coming to an end with the latest moves to try and regulate the industry.

It is called Operation Tornado and is a “voluntary” initiative being introduced in various areas around the country and although it is designed to halt the theft of street furniture, memorials, church roofs and BT cable to name a few high profile targets it will also help towards stopping this lower priority but higher cost of thefts experienced by other industries such as ours.

What the Metal Recyclers have to do.

(taken from the BTP – Identification Measures for Metal Recyclers. Terms and conditions. My comments are in italics)

The following Identification Measures, supported by BMRA, ACPO, British Transport Police will take effect on 3 May 2012 in your area (in this case Kent).

Metal recycling sites who participate will be required to adopt the following additional measures to identify sellers:

  1. Evidence of identity will be required from all persons disposing of metals for cash payments.
    1. UK photocard driving license (includes address) or,
    2. UK passport or original passport from any nationality, or offial national identity card supported by a utlility bill showing sellers address and no older than 3 months.
  2. Failure by the seller to produce identification (in-line with the requirements in point 1) would result in no transaction taking place. No ID, No Sale!
  3. CCTV systems should cover entrances and weighbridges of recycling centres and the images should be of sufficient quality to enable identification of vehicle registrations numbers and secure facial recognition. The recorded images will be retained for a minimum of 28 days. That cost has to come from somewhere!
  4. Posters describing the identification measures in force will be prominently duisplayed to sellers. Next to the Pirelli calendars!
  5. When buying from other merchants, participating companies will endeavour to promote participation in the trial and to deal wherever possible with others taking part. Keep in the club!

Operation Tornado is an opportunity to build trust between police and the legitimate scrap metal dealers. Enforcement agencies will take positive and co-operative line with participating yards while conducting checks to ensure compliance and increasing checks on those non-compliant metal recyclers. Join in or we will spend all our time looking over your shoulder! Oh and Enforcement agencies probably will include HMRC!

About time too.


Click this link for the counter argument to Operation Tornado:

Metal theft won’t be stopped by banning cash transactions

For more information on Operation Trident click these links:

Channel 4 News Article

British Transport Police Announcement

For some examples of recent scrap metal thefts try these links:

Stolen metat found in raid on scrapyard

Chinese dragon statue recovered in metal theft raids

Metal thefts up by half


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