Stopping Cash For Scrap Threatens Businesses

8 November 2012, 06:00

New legislation that stops scrap merchants from paying cash for scrap comes into force next month, its hoped it will stop thieves being able to sell stolen metal.

From the 3rd December merchants will only be able to use card or cheque transactions.

Any dealer caught using cash could get a fine of up to £5,000.

Jon O'Brien has businesses buying scrap metal in: Northampton, Bedford, Luton, Hemel Hempstead and Watford.

He says this new legislation could stop him from running his businesses because he is unable to comply:

"At the moment there is no PDQ machine (a credit card machine) that you can use to credit an account available to us. We've been told about writing cheques, but how can I police writing 200 cheques a day from six different units? Even if i was able to do that how do I know when its going to be cashed? How do I know how much money I have?"

Mr O'Brien says hes been talking to other local scrap merchants who say they are just as worried as him, he says they all want to act within the law but don't see how they can.

The legislation has been welcomed by Hertfordshire Police who say that even though metal thefts in the county are reducing, this should stop thieves crossing over the county border and selling stolen metal to Hertfordshire merchants.

Mr O'Brian disputes these claims saying it won't make a difference:

" I doesn't matter whether you pay for it in shekels, Monopoly money, cash or as a digital transaction- organised people who are going out to deliberately steal scrap metal will just come in as normal with a credit card and will be paid that way"

He's now seeking help from his MP Brian Binley.