South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed news that the Government are stepping up their measure to ensure people who steal or sell metal from war memorials will soon face tough new penalties. From next month powers will take effect to stop cash paid for metal and give the police stronger powers to target rogue traders dealing in stolen scrap metal.
According to the Home Office, there are roughly 1,000 metal thefts a week which cost the UK economy at least £220m-260m per year - although the estimated total costs could be up to £800m.
The Government has introduced a series of measures to tackle metal theft including ring fencing £5m of funding to support the metal theft taskforce; banning scrap metal dealers from trading in cash, which will end the 'no questions asked' cash payments which help metal thieves and rogue dealers; increasing financial penalties under the existing regulation of the scrap metal sector; and providing new police powers of entry to tackle illegal trading in metal yards.
Commenting Tim said: "As we approach Remembrance Sunday, and with those who have fallen whilst serving their country in two World Wars and more recent conflicts in mind, this legislation is very timely It makes me angry to think of war memorials being vandalised by thieves for cash in hand when there are families here and now whose loved ones are commemorated there.
"The thought that vandals could get away with destroying war memorials like the cenotaph in Kendal town centre just for a quick profit is horrendous. So the proposals to introduce powers to help ensure proper measures are taken against the selfish few who show so little respect when a nation mourns is absolutely vital."
Commenting further Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said: "These thieves show an utter disregard for the memory of the courageous men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
"The Coalition Government is determined to stamp out this illegal trade, which in recent years has cast a shadow over Remembrance Sunday for bereaved families. That is why we are reforming the scrap metal industry to support legitimate dealers and tighten the net around those who flout the rules."
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