Cowardly thieves steal metal plaques from war memorial

Baldernock War memorial'Photo Emma Mitchell'17/11/12
Baldernock War memorial'Photo Emma Mitchell'17/11/12

A CLAMP-down on metal thefts – especially callous crooks who steal from war memorials – has been welcomed by East Dunbartonshire’s MP.

New powers will kick in next month outlawing cash being paid for metal and giving the police stronger powers to target rogue traders.

MP Jo Swinson has welcomed the crackdown.

She said: “As I attended Remembrance Day events I was once again reminded of all the selfless sacrifices made by members of our Armed Forces, from both World Wars and conflicts right up to the present day.

“In Baldernock the war memorial was a dignified focal point for the tributes with its new stone plaques, but it made me so angry that this had been necessary because metal thieves had stolen the previous metal plaques.

“It beggars belief that anyone could commit such a crime, disrespecting our fallen war heroes.”

She added: “I am proud that the coalition Government is doing the right thing in backing measures to crack down on this disgraceful crime by tackling scrap metal theft.

Every year metal thefts involving drain and manhole covers cost local authorities thousands of pounds.

Legal changes to tackle metal theft which come into effect on December 3 as part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, include:

* Banning scrap metal dealers from trading in cash, which will end the ‘no questions asked’ cash payments which help metal thieves and rogue dealers

* Increased financial penalties under the existing regulation of the scrap metal sector

* New police powers of entry to tackle illegal trading in metal yards

Even greater measures are expected to receive approval in the New Year.

Proposals include a tougher vetting process for scrap metal dealer licences, giving local authorities the power to revoke a licence, requiring all sellers of metal to show ID and new powers for police and local authorities to enter and inspect sites.

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