Scrap theft goes off the rails

Scrap metal theft is never a good thing, but when it results in upset families and the destruction of property that brings a lot of pleasure to many, it is particularly sad.

The Daily Mail reports that metal thieves have destroyed a children’s model railway in Kent, stealing 120 feet of track. The railway is run by a group of volunteers, the Maidstone Model Engineering Society, and is located in the town’s Mote Park.

Kent Police is looking into the theft, which has unsurprisingly caused deep upset to the Society’s members. A spokesman said:

“Members of the Club were upset and horrified to discover over 120 feet of our railway track in Mote Park has been ripped up and stolen. If you walk through the park please keep your eyes open for us as possibly someone might have seen something.

“Although of little value, there will be a lot of work required by the members, who are all volunteers, in replacing the stolen rails.”

At Recycling Lives, we are sad to hear about the incident, and we hope that the police investigation comes to a successful conclusion.

Unfortunately, thefts of this nature are not uncommon, and despite the police’s efforts to apprehend the perpetrators of scrap metal crime, much damage is caused to local communities whenever it occurs.

At the moment, mobile scrap traders are – quite properly – allowed to pay cash for metal that they receive. However, this means that thieves have the opportunity to exchange their hauls of stolen metal for a bit of quick cash, which is obviously a major problem.

From October, however, the Scrap Metal Dealers Act will be enforced, which will put mobile traders on a level playing field with scrapyards. All cash transactions will be banned, and the licensing system for dealers will be more stringent.

The new law was designed to make metal theft less attractive to criminals, and we hope that this is the outcome. We approve of any robust measure to make it more difficult for communities to be adversely affected by metal theft.

At Recycling Lives, we are already prepared for the forthcoming Scrap Metal Dealers Act; one of the Community Dotcom schemes that we run, Scrap Car Network, pays customers a great price for their scrap vehicles, and stopped dealing in cash several months ago whilst still providing its customers with convenience and excellent service.

The Community Dotcom schemes, like our social business, are dedicated to sustaining our social welfare charity. This supports homeless people to find work and accommodation, and rebuild their lives after being homeless and unemployed.

The new Act will not affect our sites, since licensed yards have been unable to deal in cash since December. But we will certainly be prepared for all the other changes, and will work in partnership with the police and local authorities to continue combating scrap theft.