THE fight against the scrap metal crime spree that has plagued the area over the past few years has stepped up a gear.
Police are advising scrap metal dealers of a significant change in law.
The new rules, set to be enforced from December 1, means dealers will be required to register with the local authority in the area that they trade.
Mobile dealers will also be required to register in each local authority area that they operate and display their registration in the vehicle being used for business. As part of the new act, it is illegal to buy and sell scrap metal for cash.
In the past five years, roofs, railway cables, road signs, playground slides, memorial plaques and garden gates have been stolen in a bid to cash in on the thriving metal market.
Operation Tornado is an on-going scheme that aims to make it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal.
Inspector Jackie Willson, Hampshire Constabulary’s lead for Operation Tornado, said: ‘The new Scrap Metal Act puts the responsibility on dealers to take action to ensure that they comply with the law.
‘Currently, our officers are engaging with scrap metal carriers and scrap yard owners to ensure that they are aware of the changes. However, from December 1, the option of enforcement action will be at our disposal, which could result in a hefty fine or the seizure and disposal of any scrap metal that is being transported.’