0845 468 0388 info@smda.org.uk

Know your rights.

It is vital that Scrap Metal Dealers and Motor Salvage operators know their rights, and the laws that affect your businesses.  DON’T BE CONNED.

In 2012 an amendment to the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act was made that affected Scrap dealers. Not that Scrap Metal Dealers had anything to do with legal aid or offenders. The amendment was made by taking out ( repealing) section 146 adjusting it to read “Scrap dealers can’t use cash” or words to that affect and then putting it back in as law ( re-enacted) It didn’t say anything about Motor Salvage operators or British Transport Railway police .

This change in law didn’t stop British Transport Police though. They were the first authority to arrest a motor salvage operator for using cash when buying scrap metal… key stone cops at their finest.

However funny this is, it wasn’t funny to the victim that had his businesses destroyed , his family life crushed and his health affected as he spent the next 2 years in 11 hearings, 3 trials and 2 years on bail to prove his innocence.  In the meantime British Transport Police continued to act illegally arresting anything that looked like scrap to their untrained eye ( and nicking any cash they found on the way) With the help from the BMRA who allowed Chief Inspector Andrew McBride to lecture BMRA members at their offices as if BTP had authority when they had none, this period in time gave the industry the impression hat British Transport Police had some sort of authority over us all. They did not – it was a hoax.

In 2013 the law changed again to the present day law. A complete balls up when it was written ( drafted) by people who had no idea how the industry worked and having alienated everyone, with their knuckle dragging techniques, they wrote a law that is full of loopholes with the help from an ex BTP cop who set up his own consultancy firm – Onis Consulting.

To clearly understand the law scrap dealers and motor salvage operators need to know the difference between an officer and a constable.  They wear the same uniform and are the same person, but they have different roles. Hard to get your head around?  Think of David Beckham. One minute he’s on telly playing football then he’s modelling or being a great Dad. Same man, different role.

In simple terms:

Officers work in offices. They are going to fine you. An officer is guaranteed to be on traffic patrol.

A Constable has pledged an oath to protect the people and their property.

It is important when you deal with police to know if they are acting as officers or constables.

Why is this?

Because the law is written to say who can and can not be authorised to carry out the law.

In section 16 of the Scrap metal Dealers Act 2013   Right to enter and inspect

 (1) A constable or an officer of a local authority may enter and inspect a licensed site at any reasonable time on notice to the site manager.

BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE ARE ONLY CONSTABLES ON THEIR OWN PROPERTY. It says so under the Railway and transport safety act and the Scrap Metal Dealers Association President proved it in the High Court Queens Bench division in 2018. They can only enter your yards and inspect if your yard in on their railway property or they are babysat by a constable of the host force ( but even then they need an inspector with them)

Don’t believe us? Look at section 22 of the act under “Other Definitions.”

(5) “Officer of a police force” includes a constable of the British Transport Police Force.

Nothing about officers of British Transport Police, only constables.  It makes sense really . In 2012 the railways were the only financial funding for their own security staff – railway police. They weren’t paid by Government. They won the contract to police scrap metal and yet they had no authority to come into your businesses . It’s like Tesco security guards entering and claiming they are the law. 

They have no authority.

We are reminding our members their rights because British Transport Police with the help of Onis consulting are raiding businesses again. If you are a member of ours our lawyers are waiting by the phone if you require our help to evict illegal trespassers or prosecute them.

Know your rights. The Scrap Metal Dealers Association will always be on the side of law abiding scrap dealers  offering Protection, Education, Guidance and Support, despite the stick and abuse we get for telling you the truth.  www.smda.org.uk Email us if you need our help info@smda.org.uk