Police Scotland chose a Kirkcaldy industrial estate to carry out road checks ahead of changes in legislation regarding metal theft.
Check points were set up on Monday at both entrances of the Randolph Industrial Estate during Operation Scandium, where police performed spot checks on vehicles in a bid to curb the trade in illegal scrap metal.
Joining Police Scotland were members of British Transport Police (BTP), the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Fire and Rescue and Fife Council during the operation which aimed to inform drivers of the proposed changes to legislation next year, contained within the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015.
PC Nicholas Duffy of BTP said: “We’re here targeting metal dealers and we’re making folk aware that now the new legislation is coming in which means that they will have to have a scrap metal license to take any metal to a dealer for transaction.
“Cash in hand transactions are going to go. Everything will have to be done by cheque by bank to bank transfer so that there’s some kind of paper trail for each transaction.”
PC Duffy is confident the new ruling will make a change to the current illegal trade in scrap.
“It’s going to make it harder for people to steal any stolen metal. We’ve held this operation elsewhere and we had a few dealers without licenses and we caught a couple of thefts too, so it’s been worthwhile and it shows that this illegal trade is still a problem.
“Today’s operation is to show folk that the changes will be taken seriously and if going up to a local scrap dealer they could be prosecuted without a license.
“It’s been very busy in Kirkcaldy and very successful.”
In total 146 vehicles were checked. Two drivers were dealt with by the council for trading in scrap metal without a licence, and there were two benefit fraud offences dealt with by DWP.
Trading Standards gave advice about business registration to ten motorists and six vehicles were found to have minor defects with one driver found to have no insurance.
In addition warnings were given concerning driving licences and use of lights, and one person was apprehended on a warrant for housebreaking.
Heading the operation was Sergeant Jim Murphy of Police Scotland who said that the legislation change would benefit local people.
“I think it will make a difference,” he said.
“We need scrap metal dealers to come on board with this because at the end of the day, we’re here to keep communities safe and hopefully disrupt criminal activity regarding scrap metal.”