Legislation to regulate scrap metal theft

Dáil to debate Bill on regulation of scrap metal Legislative proposal follows high-profile robberies of metal from railway tracks and buildings

The Irish House of Deputies will debate the amended version of the scrap metal regulation by Independent TD Mattie McGrath. The initial version introduced in 2012 was rejected by 92 votes to 43. The Bill is considered as an attempt to prevent incidents of scrap metal theft and regulate ‘cash-for-gold’ business.

The original bill had tried to regulate sale of precious metals including gold as well as bronze, lead and copper. According to McGrath, the lack of industry regulations was the main reason behind the huge spike in prices of scrap metal and precious metals.

The Tipperary South TD said that when the Minister for Justice rejected his Bill in March 2012 he promised to introduce his own legislation. “But there has been nothing since then.

He said people’s homes were being broken into with precious metals such as gold jewellery being stolen and then sold to cash buyers without any proof of ownership required.

“They can just send it off in the post with no proof of ownership and get cash back.”

He wants tighter controls on the sale of precious metals including gold as well as bronze, lead and copper. Mr McGrath said there had been an explosion in the value of scrap and precious metals and there was no industry regulation.

“Limerick junction has been a target a number of times” he said of the theft of cable supplying the signal at the railway line, which had cost more than €500,000 to replace.

And there was the recent theft of metal on the Dart line at Greystones, Co Wicklow as well as the theft of street manholes, which he said created huge dangers.

Mr McGrath said the Georgian Society supported the legislation and its houses had been targeted including the robbery of items such as metal door knobs and lead from roofs.

The legislation, with eight amendments to the original Bill, provides for the registration of all scrap metal dealers and ensures payments must be traceable through cheque or bank draft. The Bill also requires a holding period of one month before metals are melted down and includes penalties of varying levels for offenders.

How to reduce the risk of metal theft?