New laws put forward by a Croydon MP Richard Ottaway to ban cash payments for traders who buy scrap metal were debated in the Commons today. Yet a change in legislation is too late for the Henry Moore Foundation whose bronze sculpture worth half a million pounds was stolen.
A Croydon MP has this morning told the House of Commons why scrap metal dealers need to be licensed.
Richard Ottaway has introduced a Private Members Bill after a spate of metal thefts across London.
He believes that a licensing system is the only way to prevent thieves selling stolen metal on.
Carolyn Sim reports.
Ten people have been arrested after a series of raids at scrap metal yards across London.
More than one hundred memorial plaques, stolen from churches and crematoriums, were seized in the raids.
Around forty of them were discovered in a yard in South West London.
The owner of that yard, and an employee, have been charged.
Police say there are around one hundred metal thefts in the capital every week.
Transport bosses are urging the government to carry out a full reform of scrap metal legislation to combat cable theft on the railways.
The head of the Anglia route at Network Rail - which runs into Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street - says millions of pounds will be wasted without legal reform.
Plans are already in place to outlaw cash transactions for scrap, but Network Rail wants a more comprehensive overhaul of the current regulations including:
an updated licensing scheme
police powers to enter and inspect scrap dealers without a warrant
requirements for scrap dealers to provide proof of identity.
The Anglia route is a key part of the transport infrastructure for London 2012. The British Transport Police will be stepping up their patrols on the route throughout the Olympics.
There were nearly 700 incidents of metal theft on London's railways last year.