BMRA accuses Home Office of being “disengaged” with metal theft



The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has accused the Home Office of being “completely disengaged” with metal theft.

The BMRA also said local authorities need to take the issue of metal theft “far more seriously”. The comments follow a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Metal, Stone and Heritage Crime, which found metal theft costs the UK £500 million per year.

Calling for “urgent action”, James Kelly, the CEO of the BMRA, said: “The data shared in the APPG on Metal, Stone and Heritage Crime makes for sobering reading. It clearly shows the scourge of metal theft is an ongoing problem.

“Operators willing to look the other way and buy stolen metal are being emboldened by the lack of enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act thereby offering a disposal route for thieves.

The Home Office and local authorities are seemingly completely disengaged with the issue.

“While groups such as the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership are doing great work to tackle metal theft, the Home Office and local authorities are seemingly completely disengaged with the issue.”

The BMRA said the APPG report showed that up to 60 Organised Crime Groups are currently active in metal theft and account for the majority of metal theft crime. The report also found thefts of catalytic converters rose from 10,049 in 2013 to 27,195 last year – a rise of 170%.

Thefts involving lead increased by 8% from 5,947 to 6,446 over the same period. In 2022, one organisation reported 334 incidents of cable theft – totalling losses of £5.3m. Between 2018 and 2022, there were 229 prosecutions for scrap metal dealer offences, the BMRA said.

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