East Riding of Yorkshire Council is introducing licences and fees to control the waste metal industry as part of its campaign to stamp out metal thefts.
Scrap metal dealers and traders across the East Riding may have to pay up to £400 for a three-year licence to be able to trade from 1 October.
Approval for the level of the fees will go to the council’s licensing committee on 16 September and from there to the meeting of the cabinet on 24 September.
Before they can apply to the council for a licence all dealers and traders must be checked by the police and have no criminal record.
Councillor Jackie Cracknell, portfolio holder for community involvement and partnership, said: “From 1 October those dealing with metals, whether they have a yard or are mobile, must be licensed. The aim is to remove the rewards that make metal theft such a low risk crime for metal thieves and unscrupulous dealers.
“We will be working with the police to make sure we have a more robust, stronger and effective system of licensing the scrap metal industry.
“We will be able to refuse a licence on the grounds that someone is not a proper person to operate as a scrap metal dealer, for example if they have a criminal record. Trading without a licence will be a criminal offence.”
Metal theft has had a significant impact on communities, businesses and local councils across the UK.
A survey by the Local Government Association showed that seven out of 10 councils had been the victims of metal theft, including manhole covers, gully covers and road signs.
Money that could have been spent by councils on other vital local services has been taken up replacing what has been lost.
Thefts in the East Riding include two which affected 1,600 homes in Tickton and Thorngumbald after thieves ripped out underground cables cutting off phone and internet services. There have also been numerous incidents of lead being stripped from church roofs.
Some offences such as buying scrap metal for cash now incur a penalty of up to a maximum of £5,000. Dealers are also required by law to keep more detailed records and to verify the identity of those selling them the metal.