The scrap metal industry has come a long way in the past 7 years. Up until 2012, Scrap Metal Dealers had been governed by the same piece of legislation called the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. All scrap yard within the United Kingdom had to be registered with the Local Authority. They were policed by the local constabulary and were regulated by the Environment Agency. In 2011, the price of scrap metal started to increase in the world market.
Suddenly a forgotten industry because the focus of the criminals and the Banks, both of which wanted a slice of the action. The media appeared to be full of stories of cable theft and war memorials being stolen, and Scrap Dealers became the villains in society. Yet most Dealers came from honest hard working families that never saw any of these stolen items, and we can only assume they were shipped abroad bypassing the majority of scrap yards.
As the public allegedly became more and more incensed by these News reports, the Government felt they needed to do something fast. In a quick fix they took the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act and repelled (took out) section 146, amended it to read that Scrap Dealers couldn’t use cash and then re- enacted it ( put it back in) From the 3rd December 2012 it became illegal for Scrap yards to trade in cash.
Meanwhile, the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 , was passed through Parliament as a Private Members Bill, this was to replace the sticky plaster amendment of LASPO. This new Scrap Dealers Act included Motor Salvage Operators, Itinerant collectors and it was to be policed for the first time by the British Transport Police. It came into being on the 1st October 2013.
During these changes, the focus was on driving out the criminal element. No one cared what was actually happening to the honest Scrap Dealers and their families. During this period, they were being rounded up , unlawfully arrested, dragged through the courts and having their vehicles seized, and their businesses closed down. Some Dealers were advised by their solicitors to plead guilty and just take the fine, despite the arrests being unlawful. British Transport Police had no jurisdiction to police LASPO, they had as much power as a Supermarket security guard, unless they had the local force present.
In 2013 , the Scrap Metal Dealers Association was formed by licensed Scrap Dealers , who fought the false claims made against them and others, and won every case. From 2015, the SMDA has taken their fight into the High Court to claim damages against British Transport Police Authority for serious financial compensation for the harm injury and losses, for the first innocent Scrap Dealer that was arrested. As our membership grows, we are there to offer advice, and show our members why they may also have a claim for compensation. Our team of advisers are ready to take your call. Our main aim is to offer Protection from the illegal acts that still are taking place, we offer Education. We offer Guidance. We offer support.
In 2018 it became Case Law. With our vast knowledge, we can also help with other issues like the VAT scammers that are currently plaguing our industry, We are not an association that lobbies. We take action for our members, and win.
We find solutions that work and we protect our industry whether you are an individual , a family run business or a National business, the SMDA can protect and educate you in the future.