Joint operation targets illegal scrap collectors

Operation ItinerantA van was seized and several more were issued with prohibition notices following a joint Council and Police operation in Gateshead last week.

Officers from Gateshead Council joined Northumbria Police and officers from the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency to carry out Operation Itinerant, which targeted scrap metal collectors operating in Gateshead.

The operation was launched following concerns raised by members of the public about the behaviour and practices of scrap metal collectors in their communities.

As part of the operation, a number of vehicles were stopped and checked for road worthiness and insurance, with the drivers also being checked to confirm that they had the necessary authorisation to collect and transport scrap metal.

One vehicle stopped as part of the operation was seized by police as it was not insured for the purpose it was being used. Another vehicle was issued with a prohibition notice requiring it be presented at an M.O.T. centre immediately. The vehicle has subsequently been scrapped.

Two further prohibition notices were issued which required drivers to have vehicle defects corrected before they can be used on the road.

In addition, several breaches of the Scrap Metal Act and the Environmental Protection Act are now being investigated by Gateshead Council's Enforcement Team after drivers failed to produce the correct licences showing they were licenced to collect and transport scrap metal.

Anneliese Hutchinson service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection says:

"There are plenty of legitimate scrap metal collectors who have been granted licences to operate in the borough of Gateshead. Unfortunately, there are also some who ignore the law and operate illegally, often in unroadworthy vehicles and without insurance.

"We are also receiving complaints about collectors allegedly stealing scrap metal from gardens and yards.

"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."

"This successful joint operation should serve as a warning to those who choose to operate outside of the law."

A complete list of scrap metal collectors licensed by Gateshead Council can be found on the Gateshead Council website.

Anyone with information about unlicensed scrap collectors in the Gateshead area should contact the Licensing Team at Gateshead Civic Centre on (0191) 433 4741 or licensing@gateshead.gov.uk

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