More than 150 officers across Lancashire have taken part in a day of activity as part of the national Operation Tornado initiative to target metal thieves and the transportation of the stolen materials.
Lancashire Constabulary carried out the operation on Tuesday with partner agencies including local authorities licensing teams, the Environment Agency, Border Force and HMRC.
Road policing teams carried out stop checks on nearly 200 commercial vehicles to ensure they were in possession of the correct paperwork, including waste carrier licences and business insurance.
All mobile dealers were found to be complying with the relevant regulations, but 38 drivers were reported for vehicle offences relating to road worthiness of their vehicles.
Officers also visited scrap yards across the county to educate and enforce dealers on the new guidance regarding legislation of cashless purchasing. All scrap dealers visited were found to be compliant with the new regulations.
One warrant executed at a car dismantlers in Blackburn, saw officers seize suspected stolen car parts and further inquiries are on-going as a result in conjunction with Blackburn with Darwen Council who identified a breach in their breakers licence.
Two businesses in Hyndburn were issued with closure notices by Hyndburn Borough Council’s Environmental Protection Team in relation to breaches of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.
Neighbourhood policing teams, in partnership with local authority officers, conducted home visits to properties identified as being at risk of burglary, metal and lead thefts. Leaflets were delivered and crime prevention advice offered along with property marking where appropriate.
Chief Insp. Michael Adamson, of Lancashire Police, said: “We have had a productive day of action across the county that sent out a positive message to the public that we are continuing to target metal thieves and dealers across Lancashire are complying with regulations.
“Metal theft offences have a detrimental effect on our local communities and by carrying out spot checks and continuing to enforce the legislation around scrap metal trading, we are cutting off the criminals’ cash flow and sending a clear message that there is no market for stolen metals in Lancashire.
“I’d like to thank all of the other agencies who supported us throughout the day and for the continuing co-operation of scrap dealers. Operation Tornado is designed not to inhibit those dealers that operate lawfully, but to remove unscrupulous dealers who operate outside the law.
“In the last two years we have seen a 57% decrease in reports of metal thefts in Lancashire and we will continue to disrupt and deter those criminals who approach dealers with stolen metal to make a quick profit from others’ loss, and those responsible will be robustly targeted and prosecuted.”
Members of the public can help in the fight against metal thieves by reporting any suspicious behaviour to police via the non-emergency 101 number, as well as ensuring that they implement their own crime prevention measures such as locking sheds securely and locking away any tools and bikes after use.