MP welcomes action against thieves who target church lead

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A new law to tackle the scourge of metal theft has been welcomed by Bicester MP Sir Tony Baldry.

Sir Tony, who is Second Church Estates Commissioner, said the theft of lead from church roofs and war memorials was a, “despicable crime”, as he welcomed the successful introduction of the new Scrap Metal Dealers Bill.

The bill, which will now become law, aims to create a tougher, locally-administered licence regime, and to give authorities the power to shut down unlicensed scrap dealers.

Sir Tony said: “The theft of metal from churches, war memorials and railway lines to name but a few regular targets of these thieves is a despicable crime.

“It is therefore very good news that the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill is becoming law and I hope that the unregulated trade in scrap metal might now be brought to an end through better regulation and enhanced powers for the police to close down unlicensed dealers.

“I hope that the police will be vigilant to cash criminals and the new law will reform the scrap metal industry and tighten the net around those carrying out dodgy deals so that this despicable offence can be stamped out once and for all.”

Anne Sloman, chairman of the Church of England’s Cathedral and Church Buildings Council, said it had been a long battle, adding: “I am grateful for the number of organisations and individuals whose hard work has led to the successful passage of this Bill, not least the Bishop of London, Lord Faulkner of Worcester and the Second Church Estates Commissioner Sir Tony Baldry MP.”

The bill, introduced by Richard Ottaway MP, will now go forward for Royal Assent.