Police cracking down on illegal metal dealers have promised they will continue to inspect scrapyards to ensure they are working within new laws.
Updated legislation which came into force in December means all scrap metal dealers must hold a license issued by their local council in order to trade.
Herts Police spent a day visiting four dealer sites in the county under Operation Chattel to check they were complying with the rules, which could lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000 or a closure order if breached.
During the inspections, the force looked through the scrap metal held in each of the yards as well as the receipts and forms dealers are required to keep to track the materials.
Officers also checked loads being brought into the yards in vans and lorries to check whether collectors had the correct licenses and if their loads were legal.
While all of the yards were found to be complying with the new laws, Insp Bob McGowan, leading the operation, warned checks will continue throughout the year.
He said: “It was good to see that the yards we visited were generally complying with the new regulations and most of those coming into the yards were also displaying the correct licenses.
“The new regulations can be a bit complicated so we made a point of giving some clear guidelines on what dealers are required to do under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act. These operations will continue throughout the year and we will ensue that every yard is working within the law.
“The main points of the Act require dealers to record who brings in the scrap metal and that the seller needs to provide identification. This enables us to track them down should the metal prove to be stolen. This is a very useful tool in tackling metal theft and acts as a powerful deterrent against opportunistic thieves.”