Operation tightens grip on illegal metal trade

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METAL thieves in West Yorkshire have been the target of a police crackdown this week.

The Operation Tornado initiative has seen West Yorkshire Police team up with British Transport Police and Network Rail to search scrap metal dealers and target criminals in a bid to put a squeeze on the sale of stolen metal.

Scrap dealers in Leeds, Dewsbury and Huddersfield were visited on Wednesday.

A number of known scrap metal thieves were visited this week and warned they are being watched as part of the operation.

The operation comes off the back of a clampdown in October in which saw raids on scrap yards across the county, more than 15 arrests and more than £100,000 worth of cash seized.

The launch of the operation in West Yorkshire coincides with the progress on recent legislation in Parliament set to make the sale of stolen metal more difficult.

A recent Private Member’s Bill being debated in the House of Lords will require all scrap dealers to hold a licence and force metal sellers to produce ID when trying to sell scrap.

A ban has already come into force banning the sale of 
scrap for cash in hand to try and make it more difficult for metal thieves.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark McManus, said: “This is our second major operation to combat metal theft in West Yorkshire in just two months and the scale of this action should leave metal thieves and those who sell stolen scrap in no doubt that we are taking this issue very seriously indeed.

“We all know that metal theft is not a victimless offence and affects many of us in our day to day lives.

“This can range from extremes such as waking up to find a gate has been stolen from a garden to thousands of commuters being stuck on a station platform.”