Freight forwarders could become innocent accomplices in a scrap metal scam, the British International Freight Association has warned.
A new Scrap Metal Dealers Bill makes it illegal to pay for scrap materials using cash, raising the prospect that increasing amounts of scrap metal will be exported by criminals to legal jurisdictions that still permit cash payments for scrap.
While bona fide exporters of scrap will despatch their cargoes from licensed and established businesses, criminals may well attempt to send containers abroad from the most unlikely of locations – brown field sites, farms, even residential addresses.
As a result the Serious Organised Crime Agency is targeting suspicious locations for the collection of containers.
BIFA director general Peter Quantrill warns that freight forwarders may become innocent accomplices in this traffic and is urging them to alert the relevant authorities to any suspicions that they might have.
“Metal thefts which have paralysed transport systems, stripped church roofs and seen many innocent businesses suffer considerable loss from metal thieves have been combated by the simple expedient of banning the cash purchase of metal by scrap merchants,” said Quantrill.
“Parliamentarians may have thought they had solved the problem by scrapping cash payments for scrap, but they may have inadvertently shifted the problem onto the freight transport supply chain.”