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.