I am calling on the Government to go further to tackle metal theft in the Rother Valley, which is damaging the economy and can be extremely dangerous.
Households face repeated power cuts, commuters face increasing delays, churches and public buildings are being damaged, all as a result of escalating metal theft. The theft of electric wires is even putting lives at risk.
With metal theft on the increase, urgent action is needed from the Home Office to stop this getting out of control. The Government should change the law to make it easier to stop this organised crime and dangerous trade.
Whilst the Government is moving to stop cash payments to purchase scrap metal and increase fines for those that are found guilty, without giving the police the power of entry and the ability to shut down rogue scrap metal yards, they run the risk of making the situation worse and not better.
I am backing a plan to tackle metal theft, which is also supported by British Transport Police, the Association of Chief Police Officers and Neighbourhood Watch.
This plan involves licensing scrap metal dealers (rather than the current registration with a local authority), giving the police tougher powers to close rogue traders down and making sure anyone selling scrap provides proof of identity, recorded at point of sale.
The test of whether this Government is serious about tackling metal theft is whether it backs a more robust package of measures.