News : Classics safer as ‘Scrap metal dealer’s bill’ is passed

Andrew Elphick


New government regulations that introduce rigorous checks when scrapping a car will help stem the tide of classic car thefts sweeping across the nation. Thanks to the ‘Scrap metal dealer’s bill’, it will now be impossible to just turn up to a scrapyard, and expect your car to be weighed-in there and then, without identity and proof-of-ownership checks.

The new bill, which received its third and final reading, in Westminster on 12 February 2013, will have far-reaching, positive, ramifications for the classic car scene in general. So what has this got to do with AROnline, and the classic car enthusiast in general? The answer is lots. The incoming law beefs-up of the regulations concerning the transfer of waste scrap metal to scrap dealers.

So how does this affect you? Simply, if a person rolls up at a scrap metal yard without legitimate identification, they will be turned away – no more ‘M Mouse’, as a name on a hand-written receipt. In theory the pride and joy sat in your driveway shouldn’t disappear on the back of a scruffy HIAB truck to be ‘weighed-in’ at a no-questions-asked scrap metal dealer.

All scrap metal will now be traceable. That is the theory, all laws can be circumnavigated eventually, but this new bill is a huge deterrent.

The basic salient points are as follows:

  • All scrap metal dealers will now have to hold and visibly display a licence.
  • Scrap metal dealers must be able to provide verifiable transaction evidence for two years.
  • Cash and unlicensed/unrecorded transactions face unlimited fines.
  • The environment agency and local councils will have overriding powers to revoke the licences if the above points are not adhered to.
  • Police will have power of closure on any unlicensed premises.

The man we have to thank for this incentive is Croydon MP Richard Ottaway. In statement Richard said: ‘Today marks a significant victory for communities throughout the country. For too long they have provided rich feeding grounds for opportunistic thieves who know they can get rid of stolen metals at rogue or negligent scrap yards. Metal theft is no pretty crime. It hits at the heart of our daily lives – grinding trains to a halt, cutting off power supplies to hospitals and other lifelines, stripping roofs off churches and schools at huge public expense’.

We have high praise for this new bill – hopefully by the autumn, everything should be fully sanctioned. However, in the mean time keep on your guard against the unthinkable.

Peugeot 504 being scrapped Picture: Wolfie Wolfgang
(Picture: Wolfie Wolfgang)
Keith Adams


  1. My local scrap dealer has done this for a few years now. I have to have valid photo ID, and the Car V5 before I can scrap a car, and i’m given a DLVA scrapage certificate and cash receipt with in and our weights etc, plus my tow car reg no.

  2. I didn’t realise classic car to scrap theft was such a huge issue.

    More of a scandal was the government sanctioned scrapping of classics to get a couple of grand off a Chevrolet Aveo.

    Is that a 504 meeting it’s end?

  3. @Gareth, I see you still have our old Rover SD1 ! Hope it is still running well!

    Good news with the scrapyards!

  4. I guess this applies when weighing in scrap metal as well, at least, I hope it does. Friends of mine recently lost a garage full of Classic Vauxhall parts it had taken years to accumulate to these leeching morons.

  5. @4

    Overloaded? Much?
    From the time when Peugeots were regarded as French Mercs, and Mercs were built like tanks too (Saw a W123 yesterday in great condition).

  6. A few years back, I scrapped the Mrs’ Fiat Uno, and the scrap dealer gave me the keys back and the number plates, as well as the C.O.D. Was a shame that had to be scrapped, as it was rust free, but everything else was knacked on it.

    On another note, unless they nationalize all scrap dealers, the pikeys will still find ways round the law, there will always be dodgy scrappies around

  7. I lost a ’72 Alfa 1750 GTV whihc had just had the shell fully rebuilt and was juet about ready for paint, and 2 near complete sets of running gear and inteiror for the above (I did have 2 cars, a ’72 and a ’74.. yes the shell was actually the ’74! but this was in ’98 had scumbag brown left things alone I’d not have botherd with that bit of subtefuge). The whole lot got stolen and was almost certainly weighed in

  8. Thought those old Peugeots went forever and where the car of choice in rural Africa. The one in the photograph is only the same age as the Ford flatbed thats carting off to the scrap yard.

  9. @Andy Jones. Car was once registered to a Helen Jones. Was that your wife? Car on last leg of a restoration and now a manual 🙂

  10. @2 and @4 – you see 504 estates every day around here,been in a few too. They are still the bush taxi of reference here in Benin.

  11. I once caught someone about to steal my own car this way…5 mins later It would have been in Iron Mountain. . .
    Police came 6 (yes six) days later after reporting.

  12. @14, tony,

    Sounds about right. I used to work with those with learning disabilities (and with ‘challenging behaviour’). One day a colleague of mine was walking with a service user in the back garden of a ‘challenging behaviour unit’ when he heard a bang. Someone had shot off an air rifle and it had missed his head by millimetres (hit the wall beside him). I don’t know what those rifles use for projectiles but it had made a small dent in the brick wall. Took the Police four hours to turn up…

    Glad to hear that the politicians are now doing something about metal theft. Been a long time coming.

    Striking pic of the Ford D Series. I remember that when they restyled it with the more modern plastic trim it seemed instantly ‘up to date’. And how cheap and crude that restyle looks now. There used to be an old C or D reg D Series doing the rounds around here (very slowly) up to a couple of years ago. Had a sort of Hiab contraption on the back and looked like it was doing scrap duties, but not cars.

  13. Won’t make a scrap of difference. You either cut it to bits and take the bits in with other stuff, or you use a dodgy middleman.
    The dodgy middleman I know takes a 20% cut, doesn’t need names and pays cash.The yards are so scared they don’t even take legitimate building site stuff. My men have been forced to use the middleman.
    just sends everything more underground.

  14. The Mini Rorum now has a Stolen Mini Section there have been so many disappearing recently:

    Mini Thefts Go Ballistic In The Midlands:

    For Example:
    J998 RBR Classic Mini Cooper S spi stolen from Chester-Le-Steet Dec 20th 2012.
    The car was recovered from Wingate County Durham on the 22th.
    The car had been stripped.
    The car had a full restoration new inner and outer wings floors and subframe and a lot of time money and welding with a full respray which was completed on the 18th DEC.
    Out of the Garage and on the road 19th DEC.
    Any information you can provide me or the Durham Police would be greatly appreciated.
    Don’t let them get away with it the next car may be your pride and joy

  15. It will be interesting to see if this legislation does make a difference. The major issue that has dominated the transport headlines in recent years has been cable theft from the railways and that has shown signs of diminishing with ever more vigilant checks on “dodgy” scrap dealers. The legislation on scrapping procedures for cars is, however, a step in the right direction. But classic car theft remains a significant problem.

  16. Well done to Mr Ottoway who is at least trying to control this. Annoyingly, if this law had been in place in 2011 my half rebuilt Ashley would have been rejected by the local scrap yard when the travellers stole it.
    The car had a lot of time and a little money spent on it. It was a unique Sportiva Softop based on a 54 Somerset chassis.
    My daughter spotted it months after the theft whilst looking for some bits for her Viva (we are only going back a couple of years here – she just loves Vivas). When I went to the yard with all the paperwork and pictures of the car under restoration – we were aiming for a Jensen fibreglass like finish – the scrap man almost cried. I landed up consoling him!

  17. Andrew another great article. You are a man of much knowledge! Are you a second hand car dealer? Well I live in salford and I scapped a few motors recently. One was my ex girlfriends. She left the old bmw 3 series on my lawn for 3 months! so I called the scrappy and he collected it. Gave me 100 quid! so i went out and brought a curry and some bensons. Cheers Andrew look forward to more intresting reads!!!

    Rover 216 Sli in red.

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