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It is an offence for a scrap metal dealer to purchase scrap metal for cash. The dealer must pay by cheque or by electronic transfer. The dealer is required to record the method of payment and keep a copy of any cheque or any receipt identifying the transaction. This is to assist in investigations of metal theft by allowing transactions and sellers to be traced more easily. These obligations apply equally to mobile collectors of scrap metal.

A mobile collector of scrap metal must have a collector's licence issued by the local authority for the area in which they are collecting. As with scrap metal dealers carrying on a business at a fixed site, mobile collector's must acquire the full name and address of any person who supplies them with scrap metal (even if given free of charge) and must verify this information by reference to documents, data or other information obtained from a reliable and independent source (e.g. photocard driver's licence or passport).

If you wish to enquire whether a scrap metal dealer is registered you should contact your local authority directly. See the website in related information to find your local authority.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.