Scrap metal dealers changed van’s number plates to avoid detection
Warning to check credentials of scrap metal and waste removal dealers to avoid fine of up to £1,000
Illegal scrap metal dealing, driving whilst disqualified, driving under the influence and driving without insurance are some of the suspected offences that could be faced by a group caught collecting scrap metal in our area. They even changed the number plates on their vehicle to avoid detection.
Now we are being reminded that we should check the credentials of any scrap metal or waste removal dealers to avoid breaking the law ourselves.
Members of Cherwell District Council’s community safety team had seen two men in Drayton collecting scrap metal on Saturday 10 April. Following initial work with the police it was suspected that the men were operating without the correct licences and without insurance for their large white transit van.
Acting on information that individuals would be in Bicester the following day, a search of the town’s estates was completed by the community safety team. During this they witnessed the driver and passenger from the previous day, plus a third individual, loading scrap metal into the same van. However, the van now had different number plates.
The vehicle was stopped and seized by the police on Leach Road, whereupon the suspects fled on foot. Following a short chase the driver, a 32-year-old male from the West Midlands, was arrested on suspicion of driving whilst disqualified, driving under the influence, and driving without insurance.
The two remaining passengers were detained about half an hour later at Bicester North Train Station.
Cherwell District Council will investigate all three men under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 with a view to prosecuting them.
Richard Webb, Assistant Director for Regulatory Services and Community Safety, said: “These suspects may have thought they could pull the wool over our eyes by changing their registration plates, but they underestimated our persistence and our desire to keep our area safe and free from crime.
“Partnership work is key to effective enforcement in our area. I am delighted that through their close work with the police our officers were able to provide intelligence which ultimately took three alleged criminals off the streets.
“The residents who left their scrap out for these men may well have done so in good faith. But the law says that anyone who entrusts their waste to someone who goes on to fly-tip it can be fined up to £1,000.
“We have reason to believe that these suspects were advertising their illegal service on Facebook. Choosing to do business with someone you have met in the comments section of a social media post can be very risky. All residents should use the Environment Agency website to check if the people they want to remove their waste are legitimate.”
If convicted in a magistrates’ court the men could face a fine of up to £50,000, or 12 months’ imprisonment. Illegal waste disposal in a public place can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years’ imprisonment for those convicted in a crown court.
Anyone approached by a scrap dealer, or someone else offering cash to remove waste, should request proof of their license before allowing them to take the unwanted items away.
You can check the public register of waste carriers to validate a person’s credentials here.
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam