Eight people were prevented from illegally collecting scrap metal last week as council and police officers effected a joint operation.
During National Scrap Metal Week (May 28 to June 3), Cherwell District Council’s enforcement officers and their colleagues from Thames Valley Police seized an illegal scrap metal collector’s vehicle and fined another dealer £300 for incorrect insurance.
Officers reprimanded another individual for making collections using a vehicle without valid insurance and for collections made outside of the district in which they were licensed.
A further three collectors were reprimanded for not meeting the conditions of their licenses. Two more are being investigated with a view to making prosecutions and could face an unlimited fine if found guilty at court.
Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s executive member with responsibility for licensing, said: “This successful operation shows how seriously the council takes illegal scrap metal dealing and that we will not hesitate to take enforcement action when it’s required.
“It is easy for dealers to apply for a licence with the council and consumers are increasingly vigilant when it comes to asking dealers for their licence.
“When you factor in the fines that can be issued for illegal dealing, and the potential for prosecutions, getting properly licenced really is a win-win for would-be scrap metal collectors.”
Individuals and companies who collect or deal in scrap metal must contact Cherwell District Council to apply for a licence, which costs £270 for mobile collectors or £455 for dealers operating from a site.
Applicants will undergo a series of checks, including a Criminal Records check, and if approved, a licence will be granted which will be valid for three years.
If approached by a scrap dealer, or anyone else offering to remove waste, residents should request proof of their license before allowing them to take the unwanted items away.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, residents have a duty of care to ensure their waste is properly disposed of. A £1,000 fine can be meted out to anyone found to be the owner of flytipped waste.