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Ban on scrap-metal cash could be in force this year

03 May 2012

by Ed Thornton and Nigel Burnham

Taken: metal objects stolen from St Mark’s, Edgeley, Stock­port. They include the collection plate and a metal font MEN

Taken: metal objects stolen from St Mark’s, Edgeley, Stock­port. They include the collection plate and a metal font MEN

GOVERNMENT plans to outlaw dealers’ paying cash for scrap metal (News, 3 February) could come into force in the autumn, it was an­nounced last Friday.

In a response to a report by the House of Commons Transport Com­mittee, the Department for Trans­port said that the Government had tabled amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Of­fenders Bill, in order to prohibit cash payments for scrap metal, to require records to be kept of pay-ment re­ceipts, and to increase the maximum fines for offences.

The Department said: “If the Bill is enacted, it is envisaged that these provisions would come into effect in autumn 2012. This would provide a direct means of tracking the financial-audit trail for sales of scrap metal, and hence go a substantial way towards enabling the identification of the sellers of stolen material.”

Police in Greater Manchester are appealing for information after thieves stole two brass crucifixes and a font from a church in Stockport last month. The Vicar of St Mark’s, Edgeley, the Revd David Brewster, found a window smashed and the items missing, along with an en­graved jug, bowls, book stands, and the collection plate.

“I’m just glad the church wasn’t vandalised as well,” Mr Brewster said. “I feel very sad about it. . . But I am more concerned about the congrega­tion. They are very upset to know that someone has done this in the place they come to worship.”

Police are working with scrap­yards in the hope of finding the items, and are appealing for wit­nesses. Inspector Stephen Gilbertson said: “Sadly, metal thieves can go to considerable lengths to try and make a quick buck, including targeting a place of worship.”

Humberside Police are invest­igating, after an eight-by-three-inch solid-silver plaque, which com­mem-orated fallen soldiers, was removed from St Mary’s, Sledmere, near Driffield.

The secretary of the PCC, Gwyn­neth Clark, said that the plaque had been stolen just before Easter. “It is really sickening,” she said. “They must have been desperate people to steal from a church.”

The Priest-in-Charge of St Mar­garet’s, Prestwich, in Greater Man­­chester, the Revd Debby Plummer, appealed for information on thieves who smashed into the church through a stained-glass window, and stole cash that had been collected

for a cancer charity. “It is probably only £20 that has been taken — money donated by parishioners over Easter. . .

“I would love to see restorative justice here. I would like these people to meet us and hear what they have done.” The damage will cost an estimated £2000 to repair.

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