Despite tough new legislation coming into force to tackle the number of scrap metal thefts in the UK, most organisations now insist on buying workplace products made out of alternative materials according to Slingsby, which supplies more than 35,000 workplace products across all industries.
In 2012 estimates suggested that insurers were paying out more than £1m a week to victims of metal theft according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) which said there were about 1,000 reported incidents a week, costing the UK economy approximately £770m a year in disruption.
To tackle the problem, a ban on paying cash for scrap metal was introduced. Fines were also increased for dealers trading in stolen metal and police have been given new powers to close unlicensed scrap yards.
Lee Wright, Marketing Director at Slingsby, says: “These measures have definitely helped to curtail the market for stolen metal as there is now a clear audit trail back to whoever brings metal into scrap yards and there are more severe penalties for those who step out of line.
“Plus the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act gives police powers to close unlicensed scrap yards and there is now a national register of scrap dealers. The act also requires dealers to keep identification records of anyone selling them metals and Magistrates can issue unlimited fines to any metal trader they find dealing in cash, operating without a licence or breaching the licence conditions.
“While these changes, combined with falling metal prices, are reducing the appetite for stolen metal, lots of businesses and organisations now refuse to buy metal products if there’s a chance that a thief could steal them.”
Lee adds: “The growth of scrap metal thefts throughout the UK in recent years has definitely left a sour taste and as a result we’re regularly asked to provide plastic alternatives for all types of products including benches, litterbins and even signs and it’s a trend that’s definitely growing.”