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Businesses hit by crime win right to day in court

A family firm repeatedly targeted by thieves has scored a major legal victory for businesses that become victims of crime.

It means companies can tell courts about the impact crime has had on their business - a move expected to lead to tougher sentences.

John Ryall spoke to campaign leader and crime victim Trevor Underhill and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

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New rules for scrap metal dealers

More than 40 police officers across Hampshire have taken part in a day of action to enforce new legislation around the illegal trade of scrap metal.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 came into effect on October 1 and brought in new measures requiring traders to ask for photographic ID, and to sign up for a new licence with their local authority. Today marked the end of a two-month registration period.

Officers visited scrap metal dealers to ensure awareness and compliance with the new rules, working alongside local authorities, the Environment Agency and British Telecom. Metal was seized for further examination, along with invoice records, to ensure dealers are complying with new laws.

Today’s day of action is just the start of the enforcement action taking place across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight following the introduction of the new Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act.

The act affects scrap yard dealers along with mobile collectors of metal, who should all take the time to make themselves aware of their responsibilities and listen to any warnings. This type of enforcement action is ongoing and we will be visiting all of our sites across the two counties in the weeks and months to come."

– Inspector Jackie Willson, Hampshire Constabulary

Two men charged in Op Precious

Thames Valley Police have charged two men with theft.

It comes as part of a crackdown on metal theft across the Thames Valley.

20-year-old Ciaran O’Callaghan, from Moulsford Mews, Reading, and Fergus Moore, aged 64, from Bishopscote Road, Luton, were both charged with two counts of theft.

The charges relate to some stolen cable belonging to BT found by the Op Precious team on a routine visit to a scrap metal dealer in Baylis, Slough.

They have been released on bail to attend Slough Magistrates’ Court on 1st November.

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Fewer delays due to metal thefts, rail operators say

Commuters in Kent and Sussex are suffering fewer delays caused by cable and metal thefts, new figures reveal.

At its peak the problem caused more than 6,000 hours of delays nationally in a single year, and cost Network Rail nearly £800,000.

But fewer incidents were recorded after thieves and rogue scrap dealers were targeted. Last year the thefts caused less than 1,000 hours of trouble for Kent and Sussex travellers. However, it still cost £540,000.

Dave Ward, Network Rail, said: "The reduction in delays and cost is good news for both the industry and passengers.

"The improvements we have seen are down to a number of factors, including British Transport Police targeting thieves and the scrap dealers buying stolen metal.

"We've worked with suppliers and other industries to make metal - particularly our cables - harder to steal and easier to identify and had teams around the network looking at new ways of working to reduce delay and fix thefts more quickly."

It is hoped that the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, passed by Parliament earlier this year and due to come into force in the autumn, will provide a further boost to the industry's efforts to tackle the thieves.

The new law targets rogue scrap metal dealers who trade in stolen metal, bringing in mandatory licensing of scrap metal dealers and outlawing cash payments.

Power lost after attempted theft

Thieves have tried to steal metal from an electricity substation in Kent risking death. UK Power Networks engineers had to turn off supplies to 422 customers in Woodnesborough to make equipment safe.

The switchgear which was tampered with had 11,000 volts running through it. Tampering with it could result in serious burns or death.

Investigating officer PC Jeremy Botwright, from Kent Police, said: “A theft of this sort is not only a crime against the owner but causes massive disruption to hundreds of other people living in the surrounding area."

Scrap dealers urged to help nail thieves

Police say scrap dealers should ask sellers for proof of ID Credit: ITV Meridian

Scrap metal dealers in Kent are being encouraged by police to sign up to a voluntary scheme to cut down on thefts. Under the plan, known as Operation Tornado, dealers would have to ask sellers to provide proof of their identity.

Kent Police is one of several forces across the South East and West regions to introduce the scheme in partnership with British Transport Police, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office and the metal recycling industry.

Officers will be visiting Kent's 57 scrap metal dealers as part of regular metal theft investigations, intelligence gathering and to encourage them to sign up to the scheme.

Valuable bronze statue stolen

The statue stolen from Grateley Credit: Hampshire Police

A bronze statue valued at almost £50,000 has been taken from a garden in Grateley in Hampshire.

Officers say they believe the 6ft by 3ft statue was taken after May 31st 2012.

They are appealing for anyone who may have seen any suspicious vehicles in the area to come forward.

PC Lindsey Spencer from Hampshire Police said “I am appealing for anybody that may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area prior to, or following the theft. A vehicle would undoubtedly had to have been used to remove the item.

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