Theft prompts call for ban on West Yorkshire scrap for cash

TARGETED: Rev Hugh Baker in the garden of remembrance at St Mary's, Mirfield.

TARGETED: Rev Hugh Baker in the garden of remembrance at St Mary's, Mirfield.

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A councillor is to write to every scrap metal dealer across West Yorkshire asking them to ditch the cash-trade in scrap metal.

Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) said he was making the request after metal thieves stole historic plaques from a Mirfield memorial worth an estimated £25,000.

The two thieves, who have since been arrested and charged by the police, are accused of selling the metal plaques, some of which were defaced and hammered in half, to a scrap dealer who gave them £120 for the lot.

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Coun Bolt said an e-petition had now been started calling for a ban on the cash sale of scrap metal .

But he was now formally asking every scrap merchant in West Yorkshire to voluntarily adopt the ban ahead of any law.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post he said: “I have asked my office to write to every scrap merchant in West Yorkshire.

“This is a growing problem and it is affecting an increasing number of people.

“It’s a problem that affects everywhere, it affects Leeds as much as anywhere else.

“I am aware an e-petition has been started and if that gets a certain number of signatures it will be debated in Parliament.

“However, I would like to see scrap dealers take the lead on this by refusing cash sales of scrap metal.

“This will not only benefit us in terms of making it more difficult for thieves to take stolen metal to them, because if they want paying for it, that will then have to be done through a cheque or bank transfer.

“It will surely benefit the scrap merchants themselves, who will no longer have to carry large sums of cash on the premises.

“In Mirfield, we had about 170 memorial plaques stolen from a church – each plaque cost about £150 to make and yet these thieves stole the lot and apparently sold them for £120.

“Metal theft is utterly despicable – it’s not just the theft itself – when thieves steal cables from railway stations, it is the disruption it causes to people when they travel on the train to business meetings or if they are going on holiday or whatever.

“Then there is the emotional toll on the people whose loved ones were commemorated on those plaques.”

Coun Bolt said he would be sending letters out to scrap merchants in the next week.

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