Posted on Monday 18 September 2017
A Gateshead scrap metal collector has had to pay more than £1,700 in court fines and costs after choosing not to renew a £78 licence.
Graeme Rutherford of Malone Gardens, Birtley was found guilty by Gateshead Magistrates of operating as an unlicensed scrap metal collector after an investigation by Gateshead Council.
Mr Rutherford had been granted a three-year licence to trade as a Scrap Metal Collector in January 2014. Gateshead Council subsequently wrote to him several times to warn him that his licence was about to expire and that he was obliged under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 to renew it if he wanted to continue working as a collector.
However, none of the council’s letters were answered. His licence therefore lapsed on 30 January, 2017.
In May this year, the Council received information indicating that Mr Rutherford was operating without the required license. Investigations showed that he had visited premises to weigh-in scrap metal he had collected on no less than 100 times since February.
Mr Rutherford was invited to Gateshead Civic Centre to discuss the matter, but failed to attend. The case was heard by magistrates in Gateshead on September 4 but he once more failed to attend. The case was therefore heard in his absence.
Magistrates found him guilty of operating as an unlicensed scrap metal collector and fined him £1,400.00 plus £200.00 costs and £120.00 Victim Surcharge.
Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, says:
“The law requires all scrap metal collectors to have a licence and to keep records of all the scrap metal they receive. This is to ensure full traceability and to combat metal theft, and Mr Rutherford was well aware of this as he had already had a license for three years.
“The council has a legal responsibility to ensure that scrap metal collectors abide by the law and we tried several times to remind him that his license was about to lapse. But for whatever reason Mr Rutherford ignored us and failed to renew his license. However, it was soon apparent that he was carrying on his scrap metal business.
“Unfortunately for Mr Rutherford, for the sake of a £78 renewal fee he has now incurred fines and charges of more than twenty times that amount.
Anyone with information about unlicensed scrap collectors in the Gateshead area should contact Licensing at Gateshead Civic Centre on 0191 433 4741.