Metal thieves who steal from war memorials are to face tough new penalties, Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne has warned. From next month police will have stronger powers to target rogue traders and stop scrap being sold for cash.
- Thefts from war memorials have fallen by two-thirds over the past year, but the War Memorials Trust warned that a worrying number continue to be carried out.
– Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne
"These thieves show an utter disregard for the memory of the courageous men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, The Government is determined to stamp out this illegal trade, which in recent years has cast a shadow over Remembrance Sunday for bereaved families. That is why we are reforming the scrap metal industry to support legitimate dealers and tighten the net around those who flout the rules."
There are roughly 1,000 metal thefts a week, which cost the country at least £220 million each year. A Scrap Metal Dealer's Bill, tabled by MP Richard Ottoway, is in addition to £5 million provided to the metal theft task force will boost the new powers further.
The powers are intended to stop dealers trading in cash. They will also increase financial penalties under the existing regulation of the scrap metal sector and give police new powers of entry to tackle illegal trading.
– Frances Moreton, War Memorials Trust
"It is always distressing when attacks on war memorials take place, but particularly so at this time of year when communities gather for their Remembrance Services and the importance of memorials and the names on them are so poignant. "New laws must be supported by effective enforcement. That is why I welcome the success by the police in bringing thieves to justice. We are now seeing significant reductions in metal crime across the UK."