An unlicensed scrap metal collector had his vehicle seized just moments after he was seen removing items from private property in Banbury.
Officers from Cherwell District Council’s community safety team were working on Springfield Avenue when they witnessed a driver and his passenger taking items from a skip on Friday (June 7).
They were also witnessed looking at a child’s bicycle in Lidsey Road, before being interrupted by the homeowner.
Police then stopped them on Edmunds Road and the driver was found with multiple items in his van, including a bicycle in very good condition – police seized the vehicle.
Roadside checks concluded that the driver was unlicensed as a scrap collector in Cherwell district, not in possession of a waste carrier’s licence, and uninsured in the vehicle he was driving.
The council is now considering further enforcement measures, including prosecuting the individual for collecting without the required licenses, a spokesman said.
Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s executive member with responsibility for licensing, said: “Banbury residents are rightly concerned about illegal scrap collection in their town.
“This decisive action - against a collector who was looking to take business away from the many legitimate collectors in our area - shows how seriously we take this issue.
“In this case, our officers were alert and able to take swift action when they witnessed an individual stealing from a skip and, apparently, considering stealing a child’s bicycle.
“It is a reminder that we must all stay vigilant when approached by someone offering to collect our waste and ask to see proof of their licence before allowing them to take it away.”
Individuals and companies who collect or deal in scrap metal must contact the 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.