Metal theft results

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Police have welcomed the results of a day of action against metal theft which revealed dealers are abiding by new legislation.

The Operation Magnet activity took place across Cambridgeshire on May 21 and involved visits to scrap yards as well as stop searches on itinerant dealers and vehicles carrying scrap metal.

Eighteen police officers worked alongside representatives from the Environment Agency and HMRC.

It coincided with a national day of action and the release of figures that showed the number of metal thefts fell by about 65 per cent in the county last year.

Fifteen scrap dealers were inspected and no evidence was found that they were not complying with new legislation that outlaws cash transactions.

The new laws are part of changes to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act and have also increased penalties for those breaking the law.

In addition:

· 29 vehicles were stopped

· One cannabis warning was issued

· One fixed penalty notice was issued for a defective tyre

· Four people were warned for not having a waste carrier’s license

· 27 vehicles were dipped for red diesel but all proved negative

Detective Inspector Sharon Dence, the force’s lead on metal theft, said: “I am delighted that all the yards we visited were abiding by the new legislation and we will continue to work with dealers to deny thieves the opportunity to profit from their crimes.

“The day of action demonstrates that despite the very welcome fall in the number of offences we will not be complacent and will maintain our tough stance on metal theft.

“It is also important that members of the public keep their eyes open to any suspicious behaviour, particularly around isolated locations such as manhole covers, building sites or public buildings at night.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555-111. If a crime is in progress, call 999.