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MfD: Some Czechs earn tens of thousands selling scrap metal

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Prague, Aug 18 (CTK) – Many Czech families make their living collecting and selling scrap metal for which they may get dozens of thousands of crowns a month, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.
It refers to a family from southern Bohemia that is touring the country with a van offering to clear out old houses, barns, sheds and cellars and remove car wrecks and other scrap metal. They can even earn up to 100,000 crowns a month this way, father Stanislav told MfD, saying this activity is fully legal.
He appreciates the new directive, which took effect in March, banning cash payment for scrap metal. It has partially discouraged metal thieves, stealing everything from heavy cast-iron sewer lids to copper eaves, so legal collectors have more material to sell at salvage points, MfD says.
First, only Stanislav worked as a full-time scrap-metal collector, but gradually other family members gave up their jobs and joined him. Now his wife along with their son and daughter with her husband work in the “family firm.” The son, Daniel, admits that he can earn much more than he did as a qualified cook.
They do not mind driving about 100 kilometres to collect scrap metal since they know it pays, MfD says.
It also refers to a 58-year-old man from Prague who has been earning his living as a scrap-metal collector for ten years. He has a network of regular clients who trust him and he operates in the radius of some 70 kilometres around Prague.
He admits that he can earn quite a decent sum this way and that he knows many people who have quitted their work and started collecting scrap metal.
Salvage points pay three to four crowns per kilo of iron, more than 100 crowns for copper and 35 crowns for aluminium, MfD writes.
It also writes that some people registered as unemployed who officially live on welfare can earn tens of thousands of crowns a month from scrap metal sale, which recent checks at salvage points in the localities with high unemployment, such as in Karvina, north Moravia, have proved.
Salvage points operators confirm that the monthly income of dozens of thousands of crowns for scrap metal is realistic.
On the contrary, the police do not believe that such sums can be earned from purely legal collecting scrap metal and they point out that the collectors sometime take even metal items that people do not give them, MfD says.
By the word legally, they mean that they never cut or file off metal somewhere, but they often take away scrap metal that is simply left in a garden, which is actually a theft, South Bohemia police spokesman Jiri Matzner said.
Metal collectors, who dub themselves “magnets,” deny it. Though the amount of metal for sale has been shrinking, they say the directive introducing non-cash payment for scrap metal plays into their hands since it has afflicted metal thieves.
According to the police statistics, 11,008 metal thefts worth 445 million crowns were committed in the Czech Republic in 2012 and 11,786 worth 509 million a year later.
The number of such thefts has decreased since the new directive took effect. In June 2014, metal worth 36.5 million crowns in total was stolen, while in the same month this year the number of thefts halved and the sum was 17.9 million crowns lower.
The Environment Ministry praises the new law, saying it has considerably lowered crime. In the next three years, it plans to introduce even more radical measures in this respect, such as more frequent checks of salvage points, their opening limited to daily hours only and their duty to install camera-monitoring systems, MfD writes.
($1=24.339 crowns)

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