David Hanson MP, Labour's Shadow Home Office Minister, responding to reports that the Government is going to bring forward measures in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill to ban cash transactions in an attempt to tackle metal theft, said:
“This Government needs to go further if it is to effectively tackle the growing crime of metal theft.
“Banning cash transactions in itself will not solve the problem, as whilst legitimate scrap yards will go cashless, some yards may continue to take cash and continue a black market.
“Labour is calling for tougher powers for the police to close these rogue traders down. Currently the police cannot enter a yard and close it down – so the Government’s plan won’t achieve what it is setting out to do.
“People that are selling scrap metal should also have to provide proof of identity at point of sale and the metal dealers should be properly licensed.
“The test of whether this Government is serious about tackling metal theft is whether it backs Labour’s more robust package of measures in legislation next week.”