Police raids against scrap metal dealers suspected of receiving stolen metal have resulted in 36 arrests.
Operation Mansoncity involving Durham, Cleveland and Northumbria police forces, supported by British Transport Police, targeted ten dealers who had failed to voluntarily co-operate with Operation Tornado, designed to make the sale of stolen metal for scrap more difficult. The dealers were arrested on suspicion of money laundering and ten scrap yards were closed down.
Says BTP Deputy Chief Constable, Paul Crowther, ‘This multi-force operation targeted those scrap metal dealers who are suspected of profiting from proceeds of metal theft and money laundering. Scrap metal dealers have a responsibility to ensure the metal they buy is from legitimate sources and that they keep appropriate records. It is not acceptable to turn a blind eye to stolen metal.
‘By helping criminals to turn stolen metal into cash, often quickly and easily, dealers are fuelling this crime which is blighting our infrastructure and disrupting the lives of ordinary people on a daily basis.
‘Whilst longer term we are looking for a change to the legislation to make it harder for stolen metal to be sold, we will continue to work within the current legislation to target the business practices of those dealers who wilfully flout the law for their own gain. Today’s operation sends a clear signal that we will not allow dealers to ignore the law.’
82 per cent of scrap metal dealers in the north eastern counties of Durham, Cleveland and Northumbria are currently taking part in Operation Tornado, which began on 3 January 2011, and is strengthening the requirements for sellers to provide identification.