260 drivers stopped in crackdown on metal theft

Police stop drivers in Seafield yesterday. Picture: Jon Savage
Police stop drivers in Seafield yesterday. Picture: Jon Savage
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ALMOST 260 drivers have been stopped across the city as part of a police operation to crack down on metal theft, it has emerged.

Checks were carried out on around 258 vehicles in just two days on sites at Seafield and Newbridge. A total of 147 offences were dealt with.

Five drivers were driving without a licence to carry scrap metal and a further 20 benefit fraud offences were dealt with by the council.

The action was taken by Police Scotland under the British Transport Police’s Operation Scandium – a UK-wide initiative to ensure scrap metal dealers act under legislation contained within the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015.

Five vehicles were seized for having no insurance and no driving licence and 29 vehicles were found to have serious mechanical defects.

Police revealed that out of those, nine were so bad the vehicles were prohibited from continuing their journeys.

Other offences dealt with included vehicles being overweight, using red diesel, having no MOT, and driving without wearing a seatbelt.

Police Scotland and BTP officers teamed up with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Scottish Power, BT, HM Revenue and Customs, the Scottish Business Resilience Centre and the city council to carrying out the checks yesterday and the previous 
Monday.

Fraser Candlish, Temporary Superintendent of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit, said: “Metal theft strikes right at the heart of communities, whether it is phone cabling stolen, lead removed from church roofs or catalytic converters taken from vehicles.

“Once metal is stolen, it has to be transported and disposed of somewhere.

“By denying criminals the use of our roads, we can keep our routes and our neighbourhoods safe.

“We want to educate those who use scrap metal dealers of the changes coming into force, particularly around cashless transactions – we are using our partnership activity to disrupt those using the road network to commit crime.

Councillor Cammy Day, community safety leader, agreed about the consequences of metal theft.

He said: “Metal theft can have serious consequences for the public and cause damage to property.

“We are pleased to be involved in Operation Scandium, and our Trading Standards’ officers will be working with partners on the doorstep crime aspect to this campaign.”

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com