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Spot checks at scrap metal yards
1:41pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
POLICE have been making spot checks at scrap metal dealers in an attempt to clamp down on criminal activity.
Dealers have been handed written warnings for inaccurate weighbridges and inadequate record-keeping.
A prohibition order was also served at Brand and Howes, in Baddow Road, Chelmsford, due to uncalibrated scales. It was also given a prohibition notice after one of its scales was found not to be properly calibrated.
Sergeant Paul Costin, who is leading the operation, said: “If we don’t keep the heat on the yards, standards will slip. People need to know if they are selling metal they are getting the right value.”
Another businesses raided on Monday, D&P Metals, on the Eastways Industrial Estate in Witham, was issued with a warning by police for not keeping proper records.
Sgt Costin said: “It was a very worthwhile operation. I think on what I have seen so far, the yards just need to be more on top of their game.
"Some of them have actually been weighing in metal and paying more to the customers than they should be.”
Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, businesses must register with local authorities and keep a record of the name, address and vehicle registration of customers.
The voluntary Operation Tornado scheme, led by Essex Police, involves businesses asking for photo ID before dealing with a customer.
In recent months there have been frequent incidents of theft of railway and phone cables in the county.
Essex Police have been working with British Transport Police and BT during this operation.
As well as checking weighing equipment is properly calibrated, police have been inspecting scrapyards with UV torches to check for identifying watermarks on piping.
Sgt Costin said: “The price of metal has gone through the roof and that makes it a priceless commodity for criminals.
“Sometimes we find yards that accept things that are suspicious.
“But it is in their interests to work with us.”