In The U.K., New Scrap Metal Dealers Act (SMDA) Aims To Clamp Down On Metal Theft

Posted by on January 9, 2014

scrap-metal-dealers-act-ukAround the world today, the problems of metal theft are very real, very expensive and growing at a frightening pace. High prices for scrap metals such as copper, aluminum and platinum continue to motivate thieves eager to make fast money in black markets, however, governments are stepping up to bring their illegal trade to an end.

In the United Kingdom, the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013 came into effect on October 1, 2013. This new law, an update to the nation’s 1964 SDMA, extends the scope of scrap metal trade regulation to include motor salvage operators and itinerant traders.

The U.K. currently suffers an estimated 1,000 metal thefts each week, driving nationwide losses of £770 million per year in related damages and repair costs.

“Scrap metal theft can be very serious for a business because of the risk of consequential losses,” stated Paul Wright, commercial director for Sims Metal Management, UK. “This act should help legitimize the metal dealers and level out the playing field. Enforcing industry standards should help protect the businesses and residents in these affected communities, as well as protect the environment by ensuring appropriate collectors will be purchasing these materials.”

Under the new regulations, all metal dealers in the U.K. will be required to obtain a license from their Local Authority and to conduct basic identity checks to certify company officers and site managers as fit and proper scrap metal dealers – an extensive identification process Sims has voluntarily maintained for years. Itinerant collectors (now defined as “mobile collectors”) will require licensing in every Local Authority area in which they operate. Any person selling scrap metal to a metal dealer will be required to provide verifiable identification to be recorded and retained by the dealer. Metal traders caught dealing in cash, or operating without or in breach of their license, are at risk of fines and/or license revocation.

In addition, transactions for metal are now required to be cashless, and for the first time, a national register of scrap metal dealers has been established to provide authorities and the public with a list of legitimate traders. In 2012, in anticipation of the cash ban, Sims Metal Management worked with Barclaycard to develop the system in which funds are credited into the customer’s bank account electronically and are accessible within two to three days. In the meantime, Sims has continued to explore other methods of making cashless payments to improve this service.

The U.K. currently suffers an estimated 1,000 metal thefts each week, driving nationwide losses of £770 million per year in related damages and repair costs.

Learn more about how Sims Metal Management is meeting the challenges of cashless metals trading in the United Kingdom, by visiting our website.

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