AN illegitimate 'rag and bone' man discovered operating as an unlicensed scrap dealer in the Staffordshire Moorlands had his load seized by police and has been prosecuted.
2013 has proved to be an unlucky year for those operating in the scrap metal underworld.
At the start of December a long awaited law came into force, which aims to eradicate the ongoing wave of metal theft and unlicensed rag and bone dealers.
Since the new laws came into force officers from Staffordshire Police have been stopping scrap dealers and checking out their credentials both here and Cheadle and across the county as a whole.
By law, any unlicensed dealers can expect to have their load seized and be escorted to a scrap yard where the metal they are carrying will be weighed in and the proceeds claimed by the Police.
They will also face prosecution.
Officers have the option to either disclaim the load or if they wish to contest the action they have 28 days to prove the legitimacy of the goods after when it will be claimed by the police.
Staffordshire Police executed Operation Tornado on Tuesday, December 3, aimed at bringing into force the new scrap metal laws across the Newcastle, City and Staffordshire Moorlands patches.
PC Dave Stubbs from Cheadle Neighbourhood Policing Team told the Times and Echo: "We hadn't been out long when we spotted a guy driving in and around the Caverswall area with a load of scrap metal including a washing machine and dishwasher.
"When stopped and challenged it became evident that the man was unlicensed and he could not prove his load.
"We seized the scrap metal he was transporting and prosecuted him on suspicion of operating as an illegal scrap metal dealer."
The new scrap metal law is based on an incentive that was trialled by North Wales police over the last twelve months which generated at total of £50,000.
"As far as we are concerned anyone without a license is not legitimate.
"If someone comes around to your house and purchases scrap they need to keep strict records of the transaction, taking details including the date of the sale, the price paid, proof of address and details of the person who sold the goods.
"Offenders are already trying to counter the new law by transporting goods in enclosed vehicles such as transit style vans.
"With this in mind we will be carrying out regular roadside stop and checks." Explained PC Stubbs.
The new regulations exclude domestic scrap, which can still be taken for weighing in by private members of the public.
All scrap metal dealers required to pay for all scrap metal by cheque only.