SNP target thieves who put lives at risk

As reports in today’s press warn that metal thefts are putting people’s lives in danger – with coastguard communications stolen, 999 phone system disconnected and other emergency services disrupted – an SNP MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to clamp down on metal thieves.

West of Scotland MSP Stuart McMillan welcomed news that Scottish Ministers are to toughen the licensing regime for metal dealers in Scotland.

Mr McMillan said:

“With police warning it is only a matter of time before someone is killed as a result of organised gangs stealing copper, it is vital a change in the law is made and it is made soon.

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government is committed to tackling this problem which is why I welcome plans for secondary legislation to toughen the licensing regime for metal dealers.

“Only this week Strathclyde Police launched an investigation to see if copper thieves were responsible for setting high-voltage cables on fire, plunging 50,000 homes and business into darkness.

“This is completely unacceptable behaviour and I hope this action from the Scottish Government will curb the disgraceful increase in metal thefts.

“Tightening of these laws will bring nearly all metal dealers into the scope of licensing by dramatically increasing the level of turnover required for exemptions.

“The current legislation has clearly not deterred thefts so something must be done to get a solution that targets this crime. This is why I welcome the Justice Secretary’s commitment, particularly at a time when the War Memorials Trust said monuments are increasingly being targeted for metal.”