New rules for scrap metal dealers

Cable like these can be worth hundreds of pounds Credit: ITV Anglia

A public loo might not seem an obvious target for thieves, but at Clacton pier, the Westcliff mens toilets were raided last week for their copper piping.

The pipes were ripped from the walls, flooding the building.

The initial estimate is for in excess of £2,000 which will be to replace all the copper that's been stolen with plastic piping, to make it less attractive to thieves. And secondly there's been a lot of damage to the porcelain in there so that will have to be replaced.

Police say metal theft costs the UK economy £260m a year. They believe today's law, which makes it illegal to pay for scrap metal in cash, will still make life harder for metal thieves.