SCRAP dealers will now have to hold a licence to collect metal under new laws - a move welcomed by Solihull MP Lorely Burt.
For the first time - under The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 - anyone collecting scrap metal in Solihull must be issued with a licence by the council, which can also be refused or revoked.
The new more rigorous rules aim to reduce metal thefts - which have left churches, village halls and other groups massively out of pocket. They will also make it harder to buy and sell stolen metal by ensuring all transactions can be traced.
Mrs Burt said she welcomes the introduction of the new Act following recent metal thefts in the borough, including the thousands of pounds worth of damage caused to the bronze Horse of Tamar statue in Malvern Park.
The monument, which has been in the park since 1953, had its hoof and tail hacked off by metal thieves last year and the damage cost the authorities £15,000 to repair.
“On balance, I would welcome this step following the loss of metal from church roofs, our own statue and train lines,” the MP added.
“It is important we make it as difficult as possible for anyone who causes this disruption and upset within our community.”
Cabinet member for community cohesion and partnerships, Councillor Diana Holl-Allen, said the new laws will help tackle this crime by deterring thieves and making it easier for the council and police to detect offences.
The cost of a site licence will be £500 and £195 for a collector’s licence, which is expected to bring in around £4,510 for the council in the first year.