Leeds licensing bosses are set to introduce new scrap metal dealing licences and a fee of almost £500 in a bid to clamp down on the city’s busy trade in stolen materials.
A decision-making panel will today debate plans to introduce a three-year site licence costing £494, and a lesser collector’s licence costing £159.
Leeds currently has 124 registered scrap metal dealers and motor salvage operators.
The new policy, enforceable from October 1, would allow the council to refuse licence applications made by what it considers “unsuitable persons”. Anyone caught trading metal without a licence would be committing a criminal offence and could face large fines.
A report to be considered by Leeds City Council’s licensing committe today says: “Over the last few years, metal theft has had a significant impact on communities, businesses and the council.”
The report adds any decision to grant a licence under the new regime will be partly judged on a person’s criminal record.
The Home Office has said recently that about 1,000 incidents of metal thefts are being reported each week nationally, costing the UK some £220m a year.
The YEP reported earlier this year that police were slowly winning the region’s war on metal thieves, and one major undercover operation recently led to 28 arrests across West Yorkshire and the seizure of £100,000 in cash.
Recent years have seen waves of attacks by metal thieves on the region’s transport networks, homes, public buildings and commercial premises.
West Yorkshire Police logged 813 incidents in one three-month period last year, with 216 offences recorded between October and December in Leeds alone.