Dodgy scrap metal dealers linked to metal theft will have their licences torn up, Environment Minister Lord Taylor announced yesterday (8 February)
Anyone convicted of any crime relating to metal theft would be barred from working legitimately in the scrap business.
Further changes proposed for existing legislation would also mean anyone convicted of transporting stolen metal could be forced out of business by having their carrier registration taken off them.
The announcement follows the commitment of £5m to establish a dedicated metal theft taskforce to enhance law enforcement activity in this area, and the Home Secretary's commitment to ban cash payments for scrap metal, as part of the cross-Whitehall drive to tackle metal theft.
Environment Minister, Lord Taylor, said: "Stolen metal will be too hot to handle. Mindless criminals who steal from our railways and historic buildings, and the scrap dealers who fuel the market, are causing misery and anger for countless people.
"We'll purge the industry of rotten elements by flushing them out of legitimate businesses, or shutting dodgy businesses down altogether."
The Environment Agency's chief executive, Paul Leinster, said: "Metal theft continues to be a major problem so we welcome the wider range of convictions that will be available to us when deciding whether to issue or remove environmental permits.
"This builds on work we are doing to support the British Transport Police's crackdown on metal theft and our on-going work to tackle illegal waste sites. Waste crime puts people and the environment at risk and undercuts legitimate businesses who take their environmental responsibilities seriously."
By toughening up the range of convictions taken into consideration when deciding who is suitable to operate a business that either transports or handles waste, which includes scrap yards, the Environment Agency will be able crack down on anyone convicted of involvement in stealing metal.