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Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward proposals to set minimum volumes of copper and other specified metals which scrap metal merchants may purchase in a single transaction; and what assessment he has made of the likely effect of such a regime upon thefts of small quantities of those metals. (183037)

I have been asked to reply.

We are aware of the recent increase in thefts of metal such as copper, much of which is sold through scrap metal dealers. We are working closely with the police and the industries affected to develop plans to deal with these crimes.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has set up a working group which includes Home Office representation and this group is looking at a wider range of proposals for tackling the problem, which will include assessing the scope and effectiveness of current legislation.